John began his first epistle with 'what was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we beheld and our hands handled concerning the Word of Life--' He writes this because the Gnostic's are telling people that Jesus was not flesh but only a spirit come in phantom form. John knew Jesus was the word made flesh and come to dwell among us. So rather than get into a great debate on the merits of Christs flesh, he writes about how he handled the flesh of Christ. John was the only disciple who remained at the foot of the cross. He heard when Jesus cried; Father why have you forsaken me, he saw them drop the body onto the ground watching as the blood seeped back into the earth from which it was formed; he beheld the storm filled heavens and the earth quake as Jesus surrendered his spirit. Finally, John's hands handled the lifeless body as Mary cleansed and lovingly wrapped her son in a burial shroud. The Word of Life was dead, the flesh no longer dwelled among them, but did that mean there was nothing left to handle?
As Jesus discipled He prepared John for when He'd be gone by teaching him to handle healing the sick, cast out demons, feed the poor and much more. In the years following the resurrection John comes to know the value of what he handled. He's writes about the Word made flesh and dwells among us, to quell the Gnostic's lie that Jesus had not come in the flesh. That's why it becomes so important for him to make sure we know the Word of life based on what we hear, see, behold and handle. So like John I want to write that I have heard "I will never leave nor forsake you", I have seen with my eyes, "good works that declare God's Glory"; I have beheld the wonder of creation in the laugh of a child and the brilliance of a sunrise; and my hands have handled the body of a broken and contrite soul sobbing out to God who was transformed into one singing joyfully unto the Lord; all because, amazingly, the Word of Life trusts my hands to handle what I see, hear and behold.