If you remember the opening chapter of John’s gospel, you’ll recognize his hand immediately in this unusual letter. As distinct from other New Testament letters as his gospel is from Matthew, Mark, and Luke, John’s first letter contains no name, historical referent or personal acknowledgement. The only indicators that this is directed from author to recipient are the uses of the first- and second-person throughout, as the author addresses his concerns to his “little children.”
However, there is a personal and situational concern that John seeks to address. He’s writing, as he begins chapter 2, “so that you may not sin.” But he is equally concerned that his readers will know that if they do sin, “we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.”
Pay attention to John’s allusions to “light” and to “truth” throughout these chapters… to the sandwich about sin, deception, and forgiveness at the end of chapter 1… and to the lecture about “commandments” in chapter 2. Also, in the middle of chapter 2, there is a rhythmic section addressed to children, fathers, and young men that you can choose to absorb, analyze, or simply marvel at.
Today you’ll be introduced to a term that is exclusive to John’s letters: “antichrist.” “Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour.” How John identifies someone as antichrist is revealed a few verses later: “Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son.” You’re allowed to pay attention to the context and consider what John wants his readers to understand.
Our verse for this week is Luke 2:52: And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature, and in favor with God and man.
1 John 1 and 2. Now let’s read it!
And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.