17 January 2020

1 John 2:18-21

But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and all of you have knowledge. (v. 20)

Psalm: Psalm 119:65-80


As John opens this section, those he addresses are back to being "children" or "my dear children" as they were in the opening words of chapter 2. The voice is one of parental intimacy that is imbued with warmth and gentleness. We are reminded that John was with Jesus and that he is addressing them from an almost unique perspective. John had been alongside Jesus as he watched Jesus bring about the reality of the kingdom of heaven through his breaking of false paradigms and untrue, unworthy systems that the religious society was perpetuating.

John is reminding the Church – the children of the kingdom or, as Paul will put it, Christ’s ‘co-heirs’ – that they belong to the truth. In verse 20 he uses words that are about belonging, inclusion and commission. The Holy One’s anointing brings the knowledge of truth that responds to the world with Christ’s own eyes. Out of the transforming love of God, there is a desire to feed the hungry, reach out and restore the outcast, and offer a place within the family to those whom no one wants to have anything to do with. This is inclusion in the ministry and mission of Jesus. It is born of transformed hearts and minds. The ‘truth’ that is where knowledge comes from is not an ex-Jesus sophisticated re-alignment of worldview; it is born as we are born again ‘in Christ’ and is ‘of the character of Christ’ which is where our knowledge of truth resides. Anything that opposes Jesus and his understanding of the kingdom of God is anti-Christ. It speaks of the world’s infiltration and opposition to the saving love of God found in Jesus Christ. John Wesley’s social holiness was born out of the passion he had for Jesus Christ and his recognition that the salvation that was his is also for all. This is not some historical Methodist doctrinal artefact that is to be brought out and viewed fondly every few years. Unless we are participators in the kingdom through the body of Jesus, we have no kingdom knowledge, no belonging and no anointing. The passion that Wesley knew is for all to be full participators in the life that comes from Jesus and to know the truth of full transformation of a person as they enter through his body into the kingdom of God. This is a real and present promise and gives life and conviction to the people of God.


To Ponder:

  • There should be an urgency to our evangelistic task. How much of the mission of your local church is about deliberately opening up the kingdom of God to embrace others?
  • How do you measure truth? Is there a sliding scale for the truth that Jesus brings?
  • Test out your thinking by looking for a conclusion and work out how strong your argument is.

Bible notes author

Catherine Hutton

Catherine is currently Superintendent of the Norwich Circuit where she enjoys preaching and teaching to her lively and opinionated congregation in Sprowston. She is an innovator for the gospel, developing ways of sharing the Good News with the local community through local discipleship and intentional evangelism.

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