Thursday, November 12, 2009

Johnny Poppin!

Reflections* on the epistles of the disciple whom Jesus loved.

"We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us," (1 John 1:3a) Click here to read 1 John 1:1-4

I would like to begin taking a look at three of my favorite books of the Bible, John's letters.

They're not sure who specifically John was writing to. Most of Paul's letters are named for the cities where the churches the letter is addressed to was at; Romans, Corinthians, Galations, etc. Most scholars do think he may have been living in Ephasus and he wanted to address some controveries brewing in the early church and warn readers about some false teachings that were going around.

All 3 "Johannin" letters are written in a fairly personal mannor. I think that 1 John 1, verses 1-4 really demonstrate this. Keep in mind who this is, the Apostle John. This is the same guy who wrote the Gospel of John and the book of Revelation. He was one of the original 12 Disciples, the one whom Jesus felt close enough to that He asked him to take care of His mother Mary when He was on the cross (John 19:25-27).

There's even some speculation that this John was a younger first cousin (not to be confused with John the Baptist) or even a half or step-brother. James & John were called the sons of Zebadee and the "Sons of Thunder." James went on to become an elder of the early church in Jeruselum.

In the opening 4 verses of this letter, John is making it absolutely clear that he's not just another preacher or evangelist. He's not telling us this stuff to hear himself talk- or to make money or get famous. He knew Jesus personally. He saw and heard and experienced this stuff. He wasn't just on of the 12, he was part of the inner circle of Peter, James and John- arguably one of Jesus best friends here on Earth.

This was personal. And his credentials are unimpeachable.

And why did he write First, Second and Third John? Why am I writing this?

"So that you also may have fellowship with us" and "to make my joy complete."

John wanted other people to know Jesus, to know the Word, to know THE Life (Jesus calls Himself the "life" in John 14:6. To be in fellowship is to be a companion, sharing an experience. It's a deep and meaningful form of friendship or association.

Our church's youth group is called Lutheran Youth FELLOWSHIP (LYF). Think about J.R.R. Tolkien's epic "the Fellowship of the Ring." They were a band of brothers, pledged to the same mission and virtues, and pleadged to each other.

John wanted to expand the family of God. And he wanted to offer a more fulfilling life in the here-and-now, but more importantly eternal life in fellowship with God.

I can't seem to get kids to attend high school Bible Study on Sunday mornings and I have too many of my own family and professional obligations to be able to give them the time needed to be the adult leader of their LYF. That puts two big obstacles in the way to our being in fellowship together in God's Word. But I still have this burning in my heart Jeremiah 20:9 to share God's love and my reactions to what I read in the Bible. So here I am. Sharing with whoever you are, reading this on my blog or on facebook.

I'm not making money on this. I'll never get famous doing it. I wasn't one of Jesus' best friends in Galilee 2,000 years ago, but I can tell you what I believe He's done on my own life and how I believe He reveals Himself to us today. That's personal. Unlike John, my credentials may be relatively impeachable, but I hope you can see that my motives are honest and genuine.

If you're interested, keep reading. It may be sporadic (I won't say- look for something every Thursday) it could end up being every other day or every other week, but I am going to make an effort to write about all 3 books. Sometimes it will end up being about this long- hopefully it will usually be a lot shorter.

Bookmark and that way you'll be able to read all of these reflections whenever they are posted and whenever you have time.

Me ka pule**,

*Reflections: I don't hold a ThD or a Master's in Religion, Doctrine or Theology or anything like that. I'm just a layman in whom God's Word burns (Jeremiah 20:9) so don't think of this as an expert, deep-academic Bible Study per se, think of these as informal devotions or personal responses to John's letters meant to share and hopefully encourage you to read God's Word for yourself and nurture a personal relationship with Jesus.

"Me ka pule" is Hawaiian for "in prayer." I figure it kind of fits with the whole pirate theme of this blog.

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