Tuesday 31 December 2013

Bible Book:
1 John

1 John 2:18-21 Tuesday 31 December 2013


We might think as we read today's passage that we are back inAdvent, as there are echoes of the apocalyptic writings that wehave set for us in those early weeks of that season. John isclearly writing to a group of people who have been going through aperiod of great stress - in the previous passage he has been warningagainst becoming too worldly in their outlook. Here he is warningof the antichrist who is rumoured to be coming but also of thosewho already there amongst them.

We are not told what temptations are being put in the way ofpeople by those so named, but it is clear that whoever they arethey are disturbing the equilibrium of the people and causingdivisions within that early group of Christian believers. We canperhaps imagine the kind of abuses of faith which have occurred:misuse of money given to help the poor; encouraging arroganceamongst the believers; undermining the teaching being given bythose designated as leaders within the community maybe?

John is urging his readers to stick to the truth and not tolisten to those who will undermine the truth. In verse 20 hereminds them that, through the Holy Spirit, they will be able todiscern the truth and have the strength to stand up against theantichrist both amongst the community there and also those who willcome in the future.

The people to whom the letter was written were living with theunderstanding that the promise of Jesus that he would come againwas imminent, that it could come any minute. There have been somany false alarms over the centuries that now very few people evenconsider that the day will come when he will come as the Christ tojudge the world. Rather they ignore the commands or are happy tofollow the antichrist who tempts them away from the demands thatfaith places upon them. Perhaps from time to time we shouldremember that 'we do not know the hour'.

To Ponder

  • Read the hymn "There is a redeemer" (Singing the Faith 338).Reflect upon the words focusing on the description of Jesus thehymnwriter places before us. Hold them as a talisman as it werewhen faced with some of the conflicts that come upon you day byday.
  • Where do you see the antichrist at work today and how would yourecognise him or her?
  • To what extent are divisions within those who would callthemselves Christian caused not by divisions in doctrine butthrough the work of those who wish to destroy their faith bydividing them from one another?
Previous Page Monday 30 December 2013
Next Page Wednesday 01 January 2014