Key Verse: 1 John 1:3 “We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father with His Son, Jesus Christ.”
In the poet Browning’s “A death in the Desert”, the apostle John lies dying in the presence of some of his followers. When my ashes scatter, says John,
“there is left on earth
No one alive who knew (consider this!)
–Saw with his eyes and handled with his hands
That which was from the first the Word of Life.
How will it be when none more saith, ‘I saw’?
John was the last living eye-witness of “the Word of life”. He had “heard” Jesus speak. He had “seen” Jesus. He had “touched” Jesus. And Jesus wasn’t merely another teacher, He was “the life” (2a). “We have seen it and testify to it”, says John. “We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard.”
One day my wife and I were driving when we heard a loud crash a few hundred meters ahead of us. I say “heard” because that was the extent of our knowledge of the accident. We didn’t see it happen We did see the aftermath. And, as we assisted the victims until the arrival of the police and ambulance, we heard their (differing) accounts of the event. When the police arrived they quickly passed us by as witnesses — we hadn’t seen it happen.
An eye-witness is of incalculable worth in a court of law. Theories, biases, and lies all yield to the power of a first-person account.
One of the great strengths of Christianity is that it is rooted in history. We have the first-person accounts of eye-witnesses. Whether we like it or not, whether we accept it or not, history tells us the story of Jesus.