the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us. (1 John 1:2 ESV)
Jesus is the Life
When John refers to “the life,” here in verse two, he is linking back to Jesus who is the one of whom he had heard, seen, looked upon, and touched with his own hands. In verse 1 we see John use the phrase “word of life” to refer to Jesus. In verse two he simply says “the life” because he is about to declare something about the nature of this life.
John tells us that this life was not just merely philosophical ponderings. Often times we read the bible and we allow our contemporary definitions to cloud our comprehension. John’s was using the language to convey something far more profound than a description about the quality of our human experience. The apostle points to the Son of God and tells us that he, Jesus, was made present, “manifest,” before John’s very eyes. What is more, he does not internalize this idea of the life, but keeps it outside of himself, further pointing to the reality of Jesus’ humanity upon the earth.
Verse 2 is interesting because John makes a third reference in a span of thirty words to having laid his own eyes upon the person of Jesus. It is because of this that he is willing to be a witness to what he has seen. But not only that, John wants to proclaim that this life is of such a particular quality that it deserves to be shared, no, proclaimed to others. The life that was manifest on the earth was eternal life in the flesh. This life must be classified as eternal because of where it originated. It came from the Father who resides in the highest heaven.
The power of the Christian life is not is that we offer a different kind of life. It’s not as if what we are offering is an alternative. There is only one choice. What God sent to earth, in the person and ministry of his son Jesus, was eternal life. Without Jesus, there is not life. Only death.
As followers of Jesus, we must recognize the difference between true life and all the false alternatives offered by the world–or even some within the church. True and eternal life will only be found in Jesus. Any claim that offers Jesus plus anything is a counterfeit and should not be trusted or entertained.