March 31, 2021
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. 1 John 1:3 NLT
The friend of Jesus, the apostle John, underlined a significant fact that people often miss. So often you will hear pastors and Christian leaders say, “We are people of the Book,” referring to the Bible. They are stating that their faith is based on the Bible. Nothing could be further from the truth and more misleading. Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists—all kinds of religions are people of their book. We are NOT. While we are grateful for the Bible, we are people of the Event, people of the resurrected Jesus. Had Jesus not risen from the dead, we would have no Bible. We would be Jewish, if anything, with only the Old Testament Law and the Prophets. Jesus’ name would have died away as just another would-be Messiah.
But He DID die a sacrificial death. He DID rise from the dead and verify everything He said. John, Peter, James—they all wrote letters to the early Christians, encouraging them to share the true story and invite everyone to the life they found in Jesus. They were writing letters based on their eyewitness experiences and faith in Jesus. They weren’t writing a religious book.
So here in this letter, John says, “We are not teaching you doctrine or catechism. We are telling you what we know firsthand. We want you to know what we saw with our own eyes and heard with our own ears.” Why? John wanted the people in these churches who had been targeted by false prophets to know that the message of Jesus was completely different. It was not a system of beliefs, but faith in an actual historical Jesus who died and rose again. He said that when they put their faith in Jesus, they didn’t have a religion but a relationship of fellowship. They would have fellowship with other believers and with God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ.
No other religion is about relationship. They are all about rules, restrictions, and regimens. Our faith in Jesus Christ is not a religion—it is an invitation to true relationship; fellowship with God Himself and the other people He dearly loves and whom Jesus died to save.
We are grateful that God saw fit to preserve these letters and the Law and the Prophets, but they are not the foundation of our faith. The resurrected Jesus is. We can’t have a relationship with the Bible. We have it with Jesus and His people, and it makes life eternal, here and later.
- Right now we are walking through the week that made everything we have in Jesus possible. Thank Him every day for His love, death, and resurrection.