We proclaim to you the one who existed from the beginning, whom we have heard and seen. We saw him with our own eyes and touched him with our own hands. He is the Word of life. This one who is life itself was revealed to us, and we have seen him. And now we testify and proclaim to you that he is the one who is eternal life. He was with the Father, and then he was revealed to us. We proclaim to you what we ourselves have actually seen and heard so that you may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We are writing these things so that you may fully share our joy (1 John 1:1-4, NLT).
Three times John used the word “proclaim” during the introduction to his letter. What did John determine his readers needed to know about Christ?
First, he wanted his readers to know that Jesus is the “Word of Life” (1 John 1:1b-2). His prologue recalls the familiar language of his gospel.
In the beginning the Word already existed.
The Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
He existed in the beginning with God.
God created everything through him,
and nothing was created except through him.
The Word gave life to everything that was created,
and his life brought light to everyone.
The light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness can never extinguish it (John 1:1-5, NLT).
John used the word “Word” intentionally. His view of Jesus was that Christ is the communication of God; the clearest and fullest revelation of God. In this particular section, Jesus is the communication of God concerning life. The Greeks had two words they used for life. One word was bios, where we get the word biology. Obviously it refers to physical life. The other Greek word for life, though, is the word zoe. This is the word John used. Zoe refers to the God life we have through Christ. It has a quantitative dimension. For example, “God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16, NLT). But zoe is not just quantitative, its also qualitative. In John 10:10, Jesus said, “My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life” (NLT).
This Word of Life that John proclaimed is the kind of life God intended for us to live. Ironically, we tend to focus more on our “bios” than our “zoe,” missing out on the fullness of our experience.