“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life — the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness… that which we have seen and heard we declare to you” (1 John 1:1-3, NKJV, emphasis mine).
Jesus was not a theoretical concept to John. Expressively, John appeals to us here. He earnestly wants us to know: Jesus is available in a breathtakingly empirical way.
They got to hear Him. They got to see Him with their eyes. They got to look upon Him. They got to handle Him with their hands. The privilege that he describes here is summed up in the phrase “the life was manifested.” Jesus manifested Himself to these men. He made Himself accessible. He allowed them to taste of His very essence. He allowed them to drink Him in with their five senses, to partake of His nature experientially.
Was this an exclusive pleasure that only John and the other disciples were to enjoy? Did they win the lottery for the right time to be born in history?
No. Jesus still makes Himself accessible to us today. This same disciple, John, overwhelmed by his experience of Jesus, reports these words to us from the Savior:
Jesus wants to manifest Himself to you and me too. He doesn’t want to remain only a theoretical concept in our heads. He longs for so much more than our intellectual assent to His existence. He yearns for the same kind of intimate connection that John was describing – where we see, hear, touch, and feel His nearness.
No, John didn’t win the lottery. You and I did. Jesus exuberantly emphasized to His disciples that it was better for them if He left them physically and returned to Heaven. Then, and only then, would He send the Counselor to be with them – and us – forever.
The Holy Spirit allows us even more intimacy with Jesus than He had with His closest friends on earth. As we press into relationship with our Lord, Holy Spirit reveals Jesus to us. He unites Himself to our spirits. He makes us one with God. Bringing our spirits vibrantly alive, He causes them to see, hear, touch, feel the One who loves us more than life. Daily. Minute by minute. Constantly.
Daddy God gives His Spirit without measure. We can have as much of Him as we long for. However, Jesus does require us to passionately, persistently seek Him. If we quiet our hearts right now, we will hear His voice beckoning:
“I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently find me” (Prov. 8:17, ESV).
“And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart” (Jer. 29:13, NKJV).
Do you ever wish you could have physically touched Jesus like the apostles did?