Summary: In this passage, John emphasizes the importance of loving one another and keeping firm in the faith. Given the physical distance that separates John from the letter’s recipient(s), he can only do this by prayer and writing and exchanging letters - but he longs for the day that he can fellowship with them in person.
Focus Verse: Verse 12: “I have much to write to you, but I do not want to use paper and ink. Instead, I hope to visit you and talk to you face to face, so that our joy may be complete.”
Reflection: In this passage, John seems to be writing to a beloved friend and fellow believer in the Way. He is filled with joy in hearing that their children have also become followers of Christ. He encourages them to continue loving one another by being obedient to Christ’s commands. And while John clearly cherishes sharing their joys and concerns by way of mail, he is even more so looking forward to the day when they will be physically reunited.
This verse reminds me of NHC this past year. Through the challenges of the pandemic, we found creative ways to worship, fellowship, pray and grow together through zoom, livestreams, texts, phone calls and emails. We were able to have a very limited amount of in-person worship and participate in local missions activities. And yet we still long for the day when we can freely meet face-to-face as a body of Christ, without fear, for then our joy will be even greater.
Prayer: Dear God, thank you for watching over us and protecting us during this difficult time. Thank you for helping us remain close as brothers and sisters in Christ despite the barriers that separate us. Help us to place all of our hope and trust in You knowing that one day we will be together again as a body of Christ and the love that bonds us will be even stronger than before.