Monday 19 August 2013

Bible Book:
1 John

1 John 2:12-14 Monday 19 August 2013


What a change from yesterday's passage! We no longer have thewarning that Christian commitment may stretch family relationshipsto breaking point. Instead, we have an encouraging word about thesecurity of being part of God's family and about the potential ofthe gospel (good news about Jesus) to bring healing to disruptedfamilies. There need not be a contradiction between Jesus' words ofcrisis and division and these words of healing and encouragement.The first Letter of John is very focussed on the quality of life inthe early Christian communities. We might even see it as a sermonon the theme, 'Live out the life of Jesus in your relationships andcommunity life'. John does have some hard things to say, but, likea good teacher, he starts with the positives before offeringcriticism and demands.

No one knows the exact relationship between the letters of Johnand John's Gospel, though many believe that the letters come afterthe Gospel and that they assume their readers are familiar with theGospel's words. Whatever the relationship, we undoubtedly meetcommon themes and a similar picture of how God's love reaches us inJesus Christ. Think of passages like "If you know me, you will knowmy Father also" (John 14:7) "'Abide in me as I abide in you" (John15:4).

In this brief passage, the author develops his theme with arepetitive structure; verse 14 repeats and intensifies thesentiments of verses 12-13. The picture is of an intergenerationalchurch with children, young people and an older generation. Withinthis family - a much broader concept than a handful of bloodrelations living together - all have a common birth right and allhave a common value. What holds them together is their commonexperience of forgiveness (the author clearly does not subscribe tothe view that children are necessarily innocent!), theirrelationship to God as the father of all and their resistance toevil.

To Ponder

  • What words of encouragement could you give that would supportand strengthen people in their faith journey?
  • What is the state of relationships between generations in yourcommunity and/or church? What might be done to bring them togetherif they are in any way estranged?
  • This passage suggests that children's spiritual insights andcommitments need to be taken seriously. How might we learn from thechildren among us?
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