November 26: 1 John 5, 2 & 3 John, Revelation 1-2
|November 26th||November 27th||November 28th||November 29th||November 30th|
|1 John 5||2 John||3 John||Revelation 1||Revelation 2|
This week we finish reading John’s letter to the church, then read his personal letters to friends before beginning John’s prophetic book, Revelation. Each so different, yet each reflecting John’s desire to see God’s people continuing in the truth.
I John 5:13 John reminds us why he wrote the letter … “so that you may know that you have eternal life”. John may be an old man but his determination to see God’s people walking in the truth has not faded. He says in 2 John 4 and again in 3 John 3 that this “gives him great joy” and in Revelation 2:2 and 2:9 that Jesus knows our hard work, perseverance and afflictions.
John himself demonstrates this in Revelation 1. Having survived attempts to execute him, John is exiled to a small island to prevent his ministry from having any effect. Despite this, John is “in the spirit on the Lord’s day” (Revelation 1:10). His life and ministry are totally focused on his relationship with Jesus, not his problems or desires.
This focus is attractive to Jesus. In Luke 19:8 Jesus said the Just Judge (God) will bring about justice quickly to those who cry out to Him but also asks will he find faith on the earth when he returns?
John does not fall into pity and despair. He is doing the right things at the right time, even if no one else is! He is ready to hear what Jesus is saying.
When Jesus speaks to the angels/pastors of the churches in Revelation he reassures them that He knows what is happening. Each situation is unique but Jesus knows the details. He thanks them for continuing in the truth, pinpointing their successes before addressing any concerns. But then He corrects.
Love always disciplines those it loves. Actually correcting us is love. The relationship is being maintained through that correction.
Our love then is shown. Love always produces obedience but obedience does not always produce love. The relationship matters. Time together with Jesus keeps our love fresh and vibrant. The pressures of life can affect that love if we don’t focus on the relationship.
The only clues to the author of this gospel is “the disciple Jesus loved” phrase that is regularly used and the highly personal nature of the interactions with Jesus. Clearly someone with a Jewish background and very detailed knowledge of Jesus’ life. The Apostle John is generally accepted as the author of this gospel.
The waves of persecution against the church and particularly against the leaders, the apostles, made this 4th gospel very important. Most of the apostles were martyred before the destruction of the Jewish temple in 70AD. With only Matthew (died ~74AD) Philip (died ~80AD) and John living past this event. John’s gospel was probably written around 85-90AD.
John was probably the youngest of the 12 apostles. He together with his brother James were fishermen working for their father Zebedee on the Sea of Galilee (Matthew 4:21-22). From the testimony of all 4 gospels John was part of Jesus’ inner core of 3 (Peter, James & John). John probably operated as Jesus’ personal assistant, sometimes having more detailed knowledge than even Peter did (John 13:22-24). He was one half of the “sons of thunder” a nickname Mark records Jesus giving the brothers James and John (Mark 3:17).
A major indicator of the relationship John had with Jesus is that Jesus handed John the responsibility to look after his mother Mary as he was dying on the cross, despite his brothers being alive. John looked after Mary until her death 15 years later, restricting his ministry to the Jerusalem area until then.
After Mary’s death John went to Ephesus where after Paul’s death in 68AD he became the overseer of the region including the 7 churches mentioned in Revelation. During the Domitian persecutions in 89AD he was boiled alive in oil but because that failed to kill him, he was then exiled to the Island of Patmos. Emperor Narva released him and John returned to Ephesus where he remained until his death aged 94 in 100AD.
He is also the accepted author of the 3 epistles of John as well as the book of Revelation.