1 John 1:2
(For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and show to you that eternal life, which was with the Father…
"Like draws to like," is man's maxim, and man's principle of action. But such is not the heavenly law. The principle of Divine action, the regulating power of the infinite heart above, is the reverse of this. The law of grace is what man would call the law of unfitness, and unworthiness, and unlikeness. Well for us that it is so! What would have been our hope had it been otherwise? In God's dealings with man, it is the unlike that we see uniting. What more dissimilar than heaven and earth? yet they have come together! The life has been manifested! This is our gospel. It is not "the life is," but "the life" has come forth from its eternal mystery. The life has been manifested! What has given it opportunity to come forth? Death! It is not life that has attracted life, nor light that has given occasion for the outshining of light. Thus God, the God of all grace, revealed to us the breadth and length of His infinite love. As it needs darkness to bring out the glory of the starry heavens, so it needed death to show forth the life—life such as had not been possessed before, nor could be, by man unfallen, or upon a sinless earth. Hence the deep significance of the Lord's words (John 10:10). Thus and then the life entered! Not like a monarch, to take possession of a fitting palace; but like a physician, to take possession of an hospital; like spring, coming to take possession of a wintry earth; like dayspring, coming to take possession of the darkened skies. What an entrance! Not invited by kindred life, still lingering among men; but uninvited, nay, repelled. It is the absence of life here that is the cause of its manifestation from on high. The life was manifested! And we have seen it! Life in the realms of the dead; light in the land of darkness; God manifest in flesh: this is what our eyes have seen. Yes; at the cradle, and the cross, and the tomb, the life has been manifested! Blessed manifestation for us, the dead in sin! The life has come; and because He liveth, we shall live also; for he that hath the Son hath life. Surely there is no lack of life for us. But what if it be rejected and despised? Here is life for you; but is it in you? Here is life come down to earth; but has it quickened you? Life died that death might live. Immortality went down into the tomb, to bring up thence for us immortality and incorruption. Life for the dead! This is our message to the sons of men. This is our gospel; a gospel for the dead, not for the living. It is the gospel of the "manifested life." You say, perhaps, that it is just your state of death that makes this no gospel to you. Your consciousness of death leads to despondency. Ah! were you not so dead you would not need the life, and would present fewer attractions, as well as fewer necessities, to the living One; there would be less in you to call out the life. The danger lies, not in your being too dead, but in your not knowing how thoroughly dead you are. So long as there is the unconsciousness of death, there is a barrier, a non-conducting medium between you and the Life. The Holy Spirit, in revealing to you your true condition of utter death, is throwing down that barrier, and substituting a conducting for a non-conducting medium. "This is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son." His Son is the "manifested life," the "resurrection and the life," and "he that hath the Son hath life." What have you found in it? Have you read in it the love of God? Have you obtained from it the life of your soul? But the manifestation of this Life is not yet over. The Life has, as it were, retired for a season, and gone within the veil; but this same Jesus, who came the first time, as the Life, shall come, as such, the second time also; and that day of His manifestation shall be the day of ours as well. The "resurrection unto life" shall be the completion of the great manifestation. As His first coming was its alpha, or beginning, so shall His second coming be its omega, or end. He comes to give His Church the full benefit of the manifested life.
(H. Boxcar, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;)