Reading: 1 John 1:1–4
Christianity’s critics love to theorize about how Jesus supposedly never existed or was a fraud. On one hand, you have scholars like Albert Schweitzer who claimed that Jesus was not really the divine Son of God but just a deluded, charismatic teacher. On the other hand, you have people who claim that Christianity is an amalgam of pagan beliefs and that Jesus never existed. And on the fringe, you have all manner of theories equating Him with drugs or hallucinations. Critics seem to love saying that Jesus is not who He says He is.
The apostle John, however, begs to differ. The critics are wrong. In this epistle, John tells his recipient that all they have heard about Jesus is true. The Son of God is real—John and the other disciples heard and saw and touched Him—and the eternal life He promises is real, too, and it is for them. And it is just as true and real for you and me. Though we live nearly 1,900 years after John, his message about Jesus is for us, too, and, trusting this, Jesus makes our joy complete in His love, and gives us fellowship with God the Father, forever.
Lord God, heavenly Father, we give You thanks for Your Son, Jesus Christ, who came physically among us and was seen, heard, and touched by His disciples. Help us to always believe and trust that their testimony is true, that we may by faith receive forgiveness and be made righteous through this Gospel; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Grant us grace to see Thee, Lord,
Present in Thy holy Word—
Grace to imitate Thee now
And be pure, as pure art Thou;
That we might become like Thee
At thy great epiphany
And may praise Thee, ever blest,
God in man made manifest. (LSB 394:5)
Nils Niemeier (Sem IV, CSL)