… our own eyes have seen … (CEV)
We saw him with our own eyes … (NLT)
… we have seen with our eyes … (KJV)
Not only, John says, did we hear Jesus with our own ears, we saw Him with our own eyes!
Well, honestly, we didn’t expect anything else, did we? We’ve read John’s Gospel; it’s apparent he was right there with Jesus. So why, now, is John repeating himself, to assure us that he is indeed, an eye-witness to the Savior’s life on earth?
There’s that. I think, he just wanted to remind people that this was no myth or fairy tale, that he had seen it for himself and could give an honest recounting of what he’d seen. But perhaps the Holy Spirit also guided him to place this here for other reasons …
Anyone can hear Jesus today, I believe, if we’re driven to it, if we are at the end of our rope and turn to Him in hopelessness and heartache, and wait silently for Him to comfort us, if we let go of all the noise in our life so that we can hear. So perhaps John was saying, in addition to hearing Jesus, as you who come after may do, I actually saw His physical form. Fair enough.
There’s also the concept from 1 John 3:1-3 … that seeing Jesus as He is makes us become like Him. John was saying, he had seen Jesus; perhaps he was setting up what he would write later, that seeing Jesus as He is launches the process of our becoming Jesus.
I don’t know where you are in the progression. Do you hear His voice? Have you begun to get a sense of His face, His mannerisms, His humor, His essence? The more you do, the more closely you walk with Him, the more clearly you will see Him.
And in seeing Him, become like Him.