John was not distracted or limited by what he saw, heard and handled.
“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our own eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched – this we proclaim concerning the Word of life.” 1 John 1:1
John was far from being airy. He had a broad generalist’s view of things and at the same time knew what he knew by experiential knowledge. He was poetical and he was a man who embraced life wholly.
As an enthusiastic youth he followed Jesus with a familiar abandon. When Jesus was with his disciples at the last supper John was next to him and leaned his head back upon Jesus’ shoulder to look at him while he talked. (Note: They ate in a reclining position with their feet at right angles to the table. They leaned upon an elbow facing the back of one head and offering the back of their head to the person behind. John lay in front of Jesus and in order to make eye contact he had to lean his head upon Jesus’ shoulder.)
As the youngest member of the apostolic band John got special attention. No doubt the Lord’s approach to John’s fragile youthfulness was tender so that John referred to himself cryptically as the “disciple whom Jesus loved.” He was the Lord’s living time capsule. He lived the longest and carried the historic memory of Jesus forward into nearly the next century.
We are privileged to have these words of John who heard, and saw and touched Jesus, the “Word of life.” Even though the picture John leaves us with in Revelation is greatly different from the one we have from John in his earlier life we know John was in touch with reality.
In the gospel of John we hear from John about Jesus who gave John a special insight into his nature. In the letters of John we learn of how we are to apply our understanding of the one who is Love. In Revelation we learn from John about a Jesus who is an overcoming King who will rule forever. John was not distracted or limited by what he saw, heard and handled. They were part of his experiential witness. So it should be with us!