How Joy is Sustained

Though I have much to write to you, I would rather not use paper and ink. Instead I hope to come to you and talk face to face, so that our joy may be complete. 

13 The children of your elect sister greet you. – 2 John 12-13


Purple Cone Flower | Mercer Botanical Garden | June 2018

I love John’s writing. From the opening chapter of his Gospel to the last words of the book of Revelation. From “The word became flesh,” to “Amen. Come Lord Jesus.” John is true to his expressed purpose – twice, no less:

“These things are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” – John 20:20-21

I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life. – John 5:13

But the words of v. 12 follow a particularly challenging message in the previous verses. He has instructed “the lady and her children” not to receive false teachers into their fellowship, not even to greet them. A harsh warning and a jarring admonition. In fact, it might seem unloving and call for a judgmental attitude.

In these verses, however, he shows how true and important it is that the Word became flesh. He would rather not use paper and ink because he wants to the the opportunity to speak with them face to face; the Word became flesh, after all. He wants to explain himself and assure them of God’s love and his. He wants to be certain that their joy would be complete.

There is a challenging edge to faithful discipleship. There are things we are called to do that are not necessarily easy to do. Yet joy dwells in the heart of those who take God’s word to heart and believe his promises. He wishes us to share that joy and love with one another.

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