John is focused on relationships, particularly our relationship with God. When he says “know” he is focusing on more than just our “head knowledge.” He wants us to dig deeper. What do we “know” of God through listening for his voice, reading his word and letting it permeate our being, watching his creation unfold before our eyes? How has the life of Jesus and how he lived impacted us and how we want to live?
John reminds us here of an old commandment, but he’s bringing a fresh, new twist to it. We are to love one another. That’s the old law, and you will recall Jesus also spoke of it (John 13:34) as a new commandment. Loving God is of course always #1, but how we treat each other is of utmost importance, too. What’s John’s twist?
I’m so glad John wrote this to us so that we won’t sin! Unfortunately, I don’t think his words can keep us from sinning, it’s not that easy. But his words can make us aware of our sin and what we can do about it. So on the off chance you happen to sin (and you will), we can all be sure that Jesus is ready to save us.
Jesus is portrayed here as our advocate, pleading our case for us. With my legal background, of course, I picture a lawyer in court before the Judge. I have worked on many a case representing the “bad guy” who was still allowed counsel before the judge. What would the sentence be? A good lawyer would make sure the sentence was fair or non-existent in the right circumstances. Jesus pleads not-guilty for us because he, himself is the sacrifice for all sins.
This text is familiar to me. I grew up Lutheran. These words were used in our weekly confession/forgiveness portion of the worship service. I took some time today to really let those words sink in. We are sinners. Period. There can be no debate.
What we do tend to do is look around and compare. We think our sins aren’t as bad as that person’s, right? I know I’m not the only one who has done this. But truth be told, a sin is a sin. To God, any sin separates us from him. Every sin, big or small, needs the same antidote, God’s forgiveness. Why do we try to fool ourselves into thinking we’re not sinners? Maybe it’s because we have done something a certain way our whole life but didn’t realize it was a sin. Perhaps we are just in denial saying something like, “well, at least I didn’t kill someone.” We try our best to be “good” people, doesn’t that count?
Light or dark? I’m not referring to the type of turkey meat you want on your holiday plate! (If that seems a little odd for an introduction, remember I’m writing this on Thanksgiving to be published and distributed to my subscribers the day after — we’ll probably all be in a food coma by then!) We do have a choice on whether we choose the light or the darkness. Some people would like to think you can flip flop back and forth. God knows our hearts. Where do we belong?
Of course, God wants us all to be with him in the light. There is no darkness in him at all. But there is plenty of darkness when we look around. Our society is crawling with distractions and opportunities to step out of the light. Sometimes it seems to me that the light is shrinking. It’s harder to find the light than ever before. But God is where he has always been. Everywhere. Waiting for us. Sometimes he’s just harder to see because of all the noise and confusion.
Did you see Christmas in this text? My husband, David challenged me, so I’m challenging you. I was looking for a stable. But we need to look deeper. What exactly is Christmas? It’s not trees and lights. It’s God coming into the world, becoming flesh. God incarnate. Now I see it. John talks about having seen him, touched him. John walked with Jesus. John walked with God.
What do we learn about Jesus from these short verses? That he was present at creation and has existed from the beginning. Is that a new picture for you? It’s easy to imagine God at creation. I often refer to him as Creator. But Jesus was there, and the Holy Spirit was there hovering over the waters. (Genesis 1:1-2) The trinity were all present in creation.