Verse 14 – The Apostle’s testimony (about Jesus)
The apostle’s testimony:
14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. (1 John 4:14–ESV)
One of the chief roles of the Apostles was to tell of what they saw. John and his fellows did that. Their seeing was not shortlived, but three years intense. The intensity seemed to culminate at the cross but was infinitely expanded three mornings later when they came to know of his resurrection: another unprecedented thing. Welded into their psyches, their view of Israel and the world, was the man from heaven: Jesus. Verse 14 might seem a pile of words so long planted in our experience that we miss the world-rocking effect which formed this type of statement.
John is saying, “The things we saw, we, in turn, have spoken to you. Th sum up: God came to our world.”
Verse 15 – The Apostle’s observations
The apostle’s continued to witness.
15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. (1 John 4:15–ESV)
John and his company began their witness on the shores of Galilee. Pentecost was stunning at its beginning, but the things to witness did not just stop with that. The energy of Pentecost shifted to less boisterous, less universal experiences, but did not stop coming. As the Gospel of Jesus spread, people accepted it. When new people confessed Jesus as the Son of God upon the testimony of John and his companions those changed also. God began to abide in them and them in God. John does not go on at this juncture to elaborate the specifics. He just says that others were to respond and others did.
Verse 16 – The Apostle’s second testimony (about evangelism)
16 So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. (1 John 4:16–ESV)
John’s composition of what we know as verses 13-15 is a summary of his spiritual maturity. “That was my pathway to where I am today,” John said. He has come to know God’s love more and more. It has become his belief. Coming from the manner in which the NIV relates it John has come to know and rely on God through this set of things. “Since I have seen what happened to me and the others in the time when Jesus walked the earth, and I have seen how his words then have played out in your life and so many others like you I have come to rely more than ever upon God.”
This in a way is yet another testimony John was giving. The first testimony was about him speaking of Jesus. The second testimony was about him relaying the manner in which Jesus’ predictions and provisions for life unfolded after Jesus returned to heaven. It is a little like the Gospels and the book of Acts.