Sunday, April 15, 2012

1 John 1:1–2:2

The familiarity of the great texts of the New Testament can obscure the achievements of their writers. In its first three verses, the First Epistle of John joins "the eternal life that was with the Father" with the physical presence of Jesus, who has been seen with eyes and touched with hands.

Christ's deity might have been cast into doubt rather than affirmed by these remembered encounters with his humanity. It is surely remarkable that the ultimate theophany should have taken the form of the life and death of an obscure man whose face and voice, however well loved, were also familiar to those around him, apparently neither imposing nor forbidding. While he lived and taught, any number of people must have looked on the face of God and gone on about their lives, taking no special notice of it. Yet these verses invest his earthly presence and the experience of it with as pure an awe as they do his presence at the creation.

 

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