When I was a fledgling Christian, the first few times I read this verse I was jealous. Despite knowing better, it almost seemed as if they (the disciples in general, and John in particular) were rubbing my nose in the fact that they hung-out with Jesus, they heard and spoke with Jesus, they had seen Jesus, and they had touched Jesus. My initial reaction was how easy it must have been to come into a saving faith being so ‘personally’ blessed.
What I missed in the passage was that John is telling us that we can be similarly blessed—we can experience Jesus in the same way the disciples did.
We can glean from the experience of two men who were traveling on the Road to Emmaus; the account given to us in Luke 24. We recall that this event took place after the crucifixion and that these two fellows were quite dejected (not knowing Christ had indeed risen). Although not recognizing Him, Jesus joins them on their walk and as verse 24:27 points out…
And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.
Then later on we see this occurrence…
Now it came to pass, as He sat at the table with them, that He took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they knew Him…He was known to them in the breaking of bread. Luke 24:30-31, 35
In the communion of fellowship, Jesus revealed Himself and in the same way He reveals Himself to us today! The scriptures tells us that Jesus has come and, “In the volume of the book it is written of Me, ” (Hebrews 10:7, quoting the Psalmist). Further more we know that, “faith comes by hearing the Word of God, ” (Romans 10:17), but in actuality the Word is opened-up as we partake of the broken bread recalling why He was broken. Christ is known in the breaking of the bread. By this we may know Jesus as the disciples knew Jesus.