1 From the elder.
To the chosen gentlewoman and her children, whom I truly love (and I am not the only one, but also all who know the truth), 2 because of the truth that remains with us and will be with us forever.
3 Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, will be ours who live in truth and love.
4 I was overjoyed to find some of your children living in the truth, just as we had been commanded by the Father. 5 Now, dear friends, I am requesting that we love each other. It’s not as though I’m writing a new command to you, but it’s one we have had from the beginning. 6 This is love: that we live according to his commands. This is the command that you heard from the beginning: live in love.
Reject false teachers
7 Many deceivers have gone into the world who do not confess that Jesus Christ came as a human being. This kind of person is the deceiver and the antichrist.
This letter was written during a turbulent time when first century Christians were being persecuted by Rome. At the same time, they were also being attacked from within the church by a movement spreading false teachings about Jesus. These teachings challenged the faith of followers who had been taught the gospel. The writer of this letter is warning faithful followers to reject the dangerous false heretical teachings of these “deceivers …who do not confess Jesus came as a human being.’’ Instead, the writer encourages faithful followers of Jesus to “continue to follow the command of Jesus, to “love each other” and “to live in the truth” and “to live in love.”
What a beautiful and encouraging letter for faithful followers of Jesus to receive during such a difficult time. It reaffirms the teachings of the new commandment Jesus taught us “to love one another, as I have loved you.” (John 13:34). This is love, and when we do this we are truly following Jesus.
This letter is as relevant to followers of Jesus today as it was in the first century. We still wrestle with remaining faithful to living in the eternal truth of God revealed in Jesus, the “truth that remains with us and will be with us forever.” And we continue to follow Jesus’ command to live in love by growing through the Spirit by loving God and loving each other. As we persevere in faith and love, we will experience anew the writer’s joyful greeting: “Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, will be ours who live in truth and love.”
by Jeneene Reduker
For Pondering & Prayer
Lenten season is a time for us to look at our lives, pause and reflect and to ask ourselves, “Do our lives show others that we are following Jesus by loving God and loving others? Are we faithful to the truth of God revealed in Jesus and what that truly means for us in our lives?
Prayer: Holy and Loving God, guide us as we persevere and grow in faith, and by your Spirit fill our hearts with the love of Jesus so we will live in your truth and love you and others. Amen.
As We Begin Lent
For our Lent series this year, we’ll be using the Adam Hamilton book Luke: Jesus and the Outsiders, Outcasts, and Outlaws. At his website, you can find a 40-day reading plan to help you read through the Gospel of Luke during Lent. And join us for worship, in-person or online, at 9:00 & 10:30 every Sunday.