How strange it must have been to be the last of the twelve! At one time there were so many who saw Jesus, who benefited from his miracles, who heard him teach, and who followed him in the wondering crowds. There were many witnesses of Jesus’ resurrection. Paul wrote of one occasion when over 500 saw the resurrected Jesus, and most of them were still alive when Paul wrote (1 Corinthians 15:6).
Then witnesses began to die. It was a difficult time to be a Christian. Affirming one was a witness of the reality of Jesus was not popular with those who did not believe. Before the New Testament closed, those who were witnesses as adults were likely dead. Any remaining would have been quite old.
History tells us (there are no New Testament records) that John lived to be the last of the 12. Heresies swirled. One heresy said, “You know divinity and humanity cannot be combined—divinity is perfect goodness, and flesh is evil. Jesus just looked human, but he actually was not.”
John wrote, “He was real, an actual human, not a fantasy, not a mythical figure. We heard him, saw him, and touched him. We speak of someone real, actual flesh. Through us you can have fellowship with him” (1 John 1:1-3).
To trust your life to Jesus Christ is to trust someone who was historical, but who through resurrection lives. The issue is not him but us: will we find life through him? We will grow old and die—he will not. He was resurrected to demonstrate we can be, too.
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