We live in an era of fake news. Anyone can say, print, or post anything claiming to be true, and we are rightly skeptical. We question our doctors because we can do our own research and diagnosis on WebMD; we question news and media outlets because of agendas, bias and “spin.” Is that real? Is that true? How do you know? Who are you to say?
John addressed these same issues in the first letter he wrote. He lived in a culture of doubt, persecution, and pluralism. There were multiple religions and many spiritual thoughts to choose from; many people had left the church to follow after these ways. In addition, the Roman government persecuted Christians. Above all this noise of “fake news” and turmoil, John’s clear voice rose and he spoke to the issues most in need.
He testified to his readers, “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life — 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 – that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete (1 John 1:1-4).”
Christ was from the beginning. He was (and is) the word of life that was with the Father and made manifest: He appeared. This is the incarnation, the birth of Christ, Jesus stepping down and breaking the plane into human history. He was born of the virgin Mary, He lived and walked and talked and ate among thousands. He died on the cross and rose again for sin. John and the other disciples were witnesses to this; they all heard and saw and touched Jesus. They were the authority of the time and they proclaimed their experiences to all who would hear, and John wrote about it to the churches he was shepherding. The power and accuracy of first-hand, eye-witness testimony cannot be denied.
Can we believe John? Can we trust what he wrote? Maybe he was just making up a story? John’s letters and the 27 separate books we collate together in the New Testament are the most reliable historical documents the world has today. We know by the nature of John’s writing, the accuracy of the dating and copying process, the number of copies to check against, and the overwhelming amount of archaeological evidence that we can trust John’s witness. He did not put forth “fake news” concerning Jesus.
Are you searching for something real today? Are you looking for a solid rock to stand on in the midst of raging waters and shifting sands of “fake news”? He wrote so that you may be sure, and have fellowship with God and one another. Read His Word and believe in Him today.