Delivered at Ames UCC
on June 24, 2018
©The Rev. Eileen Gebbie
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What is the most powerful act you have witnessed or experience you have had because of your faith or life in a community of faith? Have you ever used that experience to justify your faith or life in a community of faith? Today’s passage is all about witnessing and using the fact of being an eyewitness to bolster an argument. An argument about Jesus.
Here are the two sides: Early Christians who believed Jesus was fully divine, called Docetists, versus those including the followers of the disciple John who authored this essay, who believed he was divine and human.
For the Docetists, divinity could not suffer pain, as on the cross, so the physical appearance of Jesus was a mask, his carnality unimportant. For our authors, having witnessed Christ’s life and death with their own eyes, they were convinced that Jesus was fully divine and fully human. They give this witness statement that their joy might be complete.
Which reminds me of another set of witnesses from the beginning of Jesus’s life, a group of people from whom we have no letter or essay describing and interpreting what they saw: the magi.