“The elder to the elect lady and her children, whom I love in truth, and not only I, but also all who know the truth, because of the truth that abides in us and will be with us forever: Grace, mercy, and peace will be with us, from God the Father and from Jesus Christ the Father’s Son, in truth and love.” 2 John 1-3
While the “elder” is not identified here, it is believed that John wrote this short little book in his later years. He was probably advanced in years, maybe in his 90s. The elect lady could either be to a person or to a church. The latter seems to be what is more widely accepted and “her children” would be the congregation. It was mentioned in my studies that this could have been written during a time of persecution and that would be why there is no definitive recognition of the writer nor the audience as recognition could lead to death. This book certainly reads like Johns writing, he speaks of truth and love which is a theme for his writings. In fact, although a short book, it reads very similar to the first book of John, repeating much of the same words and phrases.
“I rejoiced greatly to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as we were commanded by the Father. And now I ask you dear lady-not as though I were writing you a new commandment, but the one we have had from the beginning-that we love one another.” 2 John 4-5
John is happy that the members of the congregation are walking with the Lord. Wouldn’t that be the heart of every pastor to know that his congregation was walking in truth, but to take it a step further, it’s not enough to just walk in truth but to love one another. I have been a part of churches where the love overflowed and I have been a part of churches where there seemed to be a spirit of competition and criticism. Our call as christians is to abide in Him but if we are truly abiding, then the love should flow from us to other believers. Love is the key. We can’t say we are abiding in Him, if we are not loving our fellow christians.
“And this is love, that we walk according to his commandments; this is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, so that you should walk in it.” 2 John 6
John goes on to give the warning of deceivers and the antichrist and he tells us to be careful of them. We know from his previous writings that antichrists are just those who are anti-Jesus. They will try to twist their teaching to make it appear to be of Christ but it is not. John gives a warning in verse 10 to be careful that you do not allow this teaching into your house. This is not to say do not associate at all. How in the world would we ever bring others to Christ if we do not associate at all. However, we should be careful of who is teaching in our churches and we should be sure that what they teach and/or preach is biblically sound.
“Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting,” 2 John 9-10
John ends his book saying he doesn’t want to put much in writing but has a desire to meet face to face. Don’t we know how that feels?
“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.” 2 John 12
I would always rather meet face to face with my church family and my fellowships of many friends. Aren’t we glad though that we have had the means this past year to meet over Facebook groups and zoom meeting when need be? But oh how it will be a joyful day when life is back to normal and we can meet more and more in person. We feel you John! It certainly will make our joy complete!