THAT WHICH WAS FROM THE BEGINNING
The Magnificent and wonderful Son of God , Jesus Christ our Lord can still be touched by us today and He touches us.
First John 1:1 says, “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we beheld, and our hands handled concerning the Word of life.” This Epistle begins with the words “that which.” The apostle John uses the expression “that which” to open his Epistle and unfold the mystery of the fellowship in the divine life. The fact that he does not use personal pronouns here in reference to the Lord implies that what he intends to unfold is mysterious.
The Word in 1:1 is the eternal Logos, the expression of God. We know from John 1:1 and 14 that this Word, the Word of life, was incarnated and manifested in the flesh. Moreover, this Word was “from the beginning.”
the Word of life has been manifested solidly and tangibly, for the Word was heard, seen, held, and handled by the apostles. The sequence here is “have heard,” “have seen,” “beheld” (gazing with a purpose), and “handled,” that is, touched by hands. These expressions indicate that the Word of life is not only mysterious, but is also tangible because of being incarnated. The mysterious Word of life in His humanity was touched by man, not only before His resurrection (Mark 3:10; 5:31), but also after His resurrection (John 20:17, 27) in His spiritual body (1 Cor. 15:44).
First John 1:2 says, “And the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and report to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us.” In this verse “life” is a synonym for “the Word of life” in the preceding verse. Both life and the Word of life denote the divine Person of Christ, who was with the Father in eternity and was manifested in time through incarnation, and whom the apostles have seen and testify and report to the believers.
In 1:2 John says that the life was manifested. This manifestation of the eternal life was through Christ’s incarnation, which John stressed strongly in his Gospel (John 1:14) as an antidote to inoculate the believers against the heresy which said that Christ did not come in the flesh. Such a manifestation, corresponding to the Word of life being touchable (1:1), indicates again the substantial nature of the Lord’s humanity, which is the manifestation of the divine life in the New Testament economy.