Days Gone By (part 3 of 3)
1 John 2:7-17
Beloved, I am writing you no new commandment, but an old commandment that you had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word that you have heard. At the same time, it is a new commandment that I am writing to you, which is true in him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining. Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling. But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.
“I know these will be difficult words to read in these terribly dark days in which we are living,” John thought. “But they are steeped in truth. Even though all around us seems lost, we are already victorious because of our Lord.” At this thought his mind drifted again to all those whose lives were given for the sake of their belief in Christ. He remembered Stephen and James and Peter and Paul and Andrew and Bartholomew and all the rest. “I have lost everyone I have ever loved. I have watched them all suffer and die.” Yet his heart remained warm and full, precisely because of the words of the Lord, Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who will not receive many times more in this time, and in the age to come eternal life. “The Lord has taken care of us all,” he whispered. “The Lord has taken care of us all.”
John continued writing:
I am writing to you, little children,
because your sins are forgiven for his name’s sake.
I am writing to you, fathers,
because you know him who is from the beginning.
I am writing to you, young men,
because you have overcome the evil one.
I write to you, children,
because you know the Father.
I write to you, fathers,
because you know him who is from the beginning.
I write to you, young men,
because you are strong,
and the word of God abides in you,
and you have overcome the evil one.
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.
Looking back, John realized he had now gotten to the heart of things. His experiences with Christ and with his fellow disciples, though fading from his memory, had prepared him to write these words for future generations of followers. “And that is just it, isn’t it,” he said to himself. “Future generations. Regardless what man does—and he cannot be trusted, the Lord warned us about the heart of man—the Lord abides in his people, and he ensures that his people remain. It was that way from the very beginning. God has been near his people from the start, and what the Lord has done is perfect corroboration of that fact. We cannot be destroyed!” In an uncharacteristic burst of energy that surprised even John, the old man leaped to his feet and shouted, “Praise God! Praise God! Praise God!” again attracting the attention of the children in the street. Seeing their curiosity, the old apostle called them to him. “Come over here, little ones. I want to share with you something . . .” Reaching onto a nearby shelf, John pulled out a scroll. Carefully unrolling it, he began to read:
“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.
“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?” Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me (John 14:12-24).