If you think about it, it is pretty incredible. People have seen God. People have heard from God. God has been here, walking amongst us, and we have seen him and heard him.
The One who spoke and made the universe come into existence has been here with us. The One who parted the Red Sea and the Jordan River for Moses has been here with us. The One who brought the Israelites into the promised land has been here with us.
The One who was rejected by the Israelites has been here. The One who punished the Israelites for their rebellion by scattering them to the nations has been here.
And this is the same thing that John was speaking about when he started his first epistle:
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched —this we proclaim concerning the Word of life.1 John 1:1
John is saying that this One who did all of these things, and so much more, is the same One that they were allowed to see. Jesus is the Word of life, and they were able to be with him. They were allowed to truly see him with their own eyes. They were allowed to hear him with their own ears. And they were allowed to touch him with their own hands. They had seen and heard, and touched, God.
They saw, heard, and touched eternity through the Eternal One, even while he was here on earth. His leaving wasn’t the end, it was simply a moment in time. His life would continue on forever, and so would the life of those who believe in him.
How privileged were these people, that they were allowed to see God?!? That God was willing to come to them in their time in history. God came and dwelt among them!
But we should be clear that God continues this to this day. Jesus came as God in the form of a man. Jesus was referred to as Immanuel, which means God with us.
But Jesus also gave us his Spirit. For those that believe in him, the Holy Spirit will come to dwell with them. Jesus wants to know his people, and he wants his people to know him – and intimately. This is no small thing. The God of the universe comes as a man to earth to show Himself to everyone, and now he will know us, but more importantly, we can know him.
And so now, his Spirit dwells with us and we are called to live by the Spirit. No longer by our flesh, but living according to Christ within us. Through the Spirit within us, and through his word, we can know him. We can know God. With our own eyes and ears, we can see and hear him.