“…the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us…”
the life was manifested,
John continues to emphasize the authenticity of the apostles’ seeing the humanity of Christ in person to counteract the false doctrine that Christ was a phantom (Gnosticism). He picks up the theme of “life.” The “life” here is the “Word of life” of verse 1. The Word of life manifested Himself to the apostles to qualify them as eyewitnesses of His message. Jesus came into view of the apostles as physically real.
1 Ti 3:16, “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness:
God was manifested in the flesh,
Justified in the Spirit,
Seen by angels,
Preached among the Gentiles,
Believed on in the world,
Received up in glory.”
For 33 and ½ years, God came to earth incognito. The second person of the Trinity became a baby at the incarnation. Few accepted Him. They ultimately murdered Him on a cross, yet He was the manifestation of grace itself.
Ti 2:11, “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men…”
and we have seen,
John lends his credibility as a witness to the physical reality of Christ. He was an eyewitness to Him historically. John carried the authority of experience.
and bear witness,
The apostles “bear witness” to seeing and knowing the Word of life manifested on earth. This was the testimony of the highest-ranking people in Christianity – the authors of the New Testament.
2 Pe 1:16, “For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty.”
and declare to you that eternal life
Not only is Jesus the “Word of life” (1:1), but He offers eternal life to us. Jesus had eternal life in Himself. This phrase emphasizes the eternality of Christ. Jesus existed in a pre-incarnate state before He was born in Bethlehem. Jesus came with a quality of life like no other.
Mi 5:2, “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
Though you are little among the thousands of Judah,
Yet out of you shall come forth to Me
The One to be Ruler in Israel,
Whose goings forth are from of old,
The apostles “declare” “that eternal life.” The Eternal Word gave them authoritative commission and credentials to proclaim the true gospel with entitlement. Their message was not speculation or philosophy but revelation.
We find eternal life in the incarnate and crucified Son of God.
The moment you receive eternal life that Jesus gives, you transition from eternal death to eternal life. Eternal life does not begin when you die, but when you trust Christ as your Savior. We locate eternal life in the eternal Son.
Jn 5:24, “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.”
Jn 20:31, “…but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.”
1 Jn 5:11-12, 11 “And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. 12 He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. 13 These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.”