“I HAVE NO GREATER JOY THAN …”
Todays readings.. Judges 21, Isaiah 43, 2&3 John.
Today we read the 2 final short letters of John. He is obviously an old man; he waits for news of developments among those he knows – news must have travelled very slowly in those days – it is the complete opposite today – in most cases.
In his final letter we read – “I rejoiced greatly when the brothers came and testified to your truth, as indeed you are walking in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” [v.4]. Note the words, John’s great “joy” is to hear of their “walking” – not just that they are believing!
Belief in that which is true is an essential foundation – and we recall John’s declaration near the end of his gospel. “He who saw it has borne witness—his testimony is true, and he knows that he is telling the truth—that you also may believe.” [ch. 19 v.35]
This is the foundation – but we must build on that foundation, otherwise the foundation is wasted. We recall the words of Paul as he took his leave from the elders at Ephesus, “I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.” [Acts 20 v.32] Sanctified means – seen to be holy.
We can be ‘tempted’ to simply read and talk about the truth – but not be converted in heart – but that will prove to be a tragedy when Christ returns! We ponder the many parables of Christ – we must have oil in our lamps – remember the parable when Jesus described how when “the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them.” [Matt. 25 v.3] They had ceased to be a light in the world, they had ceased to “build” themselves – and others – up – to put their faith into action. Remember what we read in James earlier this month, he declared, “I will show you my faith by my works.” [2 v.18]
When Jesus comes we will “have no greater joy than” to be welcomed into his kingdom – together with all those who have been “walking in the truth.”