June 7, 2012 by Chris French
John starts his letter just like he does his Gospel…in the beginning. I wonder why John focuses so much on the pre-incarnate Jesus. Obviously this aspect of Jesus is very important, but John seems to have a special fascination concerning this part of Jesus’ story. The other writers don’t focus on Jesus before His birth nearly as much as John. No answers…only a question.
I also find John’s test of a true disciple to be very interesting! We take tests all the time to gauge how much we learned about a particular subject. In fact, the ACT and SAT tests are coming up for some high school students. They’ll take that test to see how much they learned during high school. John says there’s a test we can take to see if our faith is true faith or not. The test? Do you love your church family? Not what you were thinking? Check out 1 John 3.14. Do you want to know if you’ve passed from death to life? Ok, here’s the test. Do you love the brothers? Some people are hard to get along with and (spoiler alert) some of those people are even in the church! I don’t have to be best friends with those kinds of people. We all naturally gravitate toward a certain type of person. On the other hand we all want to be as far away from a certain group of people as we can get. so you don’t have to be best friends with everyone in the church, see above reasons, but I need to put their needs and wants above my own. I can do that for someone I don’t even like!
Maybe they hurt my feelings so I pulled away from them, and just stopped talking to them, but when I realize they feel shunned I make every effort to meet their need for friendship and belonging. I don’t want to talk to them and I’m good with other people not talking to them, but if I love them their pain will still be my pain, even if I don’t like them! That’s how I know I’ve passed from death to life! I feel the pain of my brother in Christ that I don’t even like and work to make that pain go away. Have you passed from death to life? Have you tested yourself?
On a sidenote if you love someone like this, feeling their pain and working to make it better, you won’t remain enemies long!