In our study, we will look at what the early church meant by fellowship and how we, as Christians, are part of the family of God.
This epistle (letter) is different from most others in the Bible because it was written to the entire family of God while the others were usually written to a specific body of believers. We often refer to John as the "disciple that Jesus loved" but, along with his brother, Jesus called them Sons of Thunder. He was a son of a fisherman but, when Jesus called him and his brother, they dropped their nets and immediately followed. This same John wrote the Gospel of John, Revelation, and two other letters that are included in the Bible. After the death and resurrection of Jesus, he stayed in Jerusalem and was a leader in the "church" there but around 70 years later he moved to Ephesus. It is believed that he wrote these letters from there where he was a leader as well. While most of the apostles died a martyr's death, John died peacefully in Ephesus after being released from exile on the island of Patmos.
"That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched - this we proclaim concerning the Word of Life." NIV translation
John starts by letting us know how real Jesus was to him. He reminds us that he knows about Jesus through personal experience as he has seen, heard, and even touched the person of Jesus. He also reminds us that Jesus was with God from the beginning and was not a reaction to the need for salvation. Jesus was a part of God's plan from the beginning and was in fact the very Word of God that brings life.
We should start by asking ourselves if this same Jesus is as real to us as it was to John. It is this personal experience with Jesus that brings forgiveness and salvation.