Aloha Friday Message – Good Friday with John the Beloved

1214AFC040612 – Catholic Letter Series

Read it online here.

E pili mau na pomaika‘i ia ‘oe a me ke akua ho’omaika’i ‘oe! (May blessing always be with you and may God bless you!) Today we continue with the catholic letters, turning now to the first letter of John. All three letters by John were written probably around A.D. 85-95 when Christianity had already been established in much of the Roman world for more than a generation. You will recall that Peter’s letters were written just before his death around A.D. 66 and focused on keeping the new churches on the right track in the face of some early heresies. John’s letter also addresses heresies by the early Gnostics. But there are two overriding key themes I want examine carefully for this week. 1 John is a pretty short little letter, but it packs a huge wallop in practical, spiritual, and theological lessons.

The first key theme is, “GOD IS LIGHT.” What we are obviously not talking about here is “God-lite,” the preferred god of Cafeteria Christians, or those Christians who think of God as the ultimate Jedi Knight. John tells us that GOD ≡ LIGHT, therefore there is no darkness in or around him. In John’s culture Light was everything that was goodness and dark was everything that was badness; good and evil, obedience and sin, blessing and curse, and thereby Life and Death. John makes it clear that this is Jesus’ message. (John 8:12“I am the Light of the World. Whoever walks in me will not walk in darkness.”) And he makes it equally clear that he heard the message and conveys it to his audience. This is one of those “one-degree-of-separation” incidents. “Jesus told me. I told you.”

KJV 1 John 1:5This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

NAB 1 John 1:5Now this is the message that we have heard from him and proclaim to you: God is light, and in him there is no darkness at all.

NJB 1 John 1:5This is what we have heard from him and are declaring to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all.

When we are in the Light, the Light is also in us, and the Light shines in us in the World because we become part of the Light, In Matthew 5:16, Jesus has just said that no one lights a lamp then hides it under a basket or puts it under the bed; no, they set it on a stand where it gives light to the whole room. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” If we claim to be in the Light but that Light does not shine in us, we are easily seen to be liars because we possess Darkness, not Light.

John gives many more words of Wisdom on this as he touches on a great number of themes that summarize the doctrines and challenges of the early church. Satan wasn’t able to stop Christ from completing his Mission, but he was (and is) working frantically (then and now) to stop The Body of Christ – the Church – from completing her Mission by using lies and persecutions to propagate doubt and fear throughout the Church. Then John shifts gears, but just a bit, and tells his audience, “GOD ≡ LOVE.” This passage is so beautiful I don’t want to break it up, so here it is from the New Jerusalem Bible.

1 John 4:7-217 My dear friends, let us love one another, since love is from God and everyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. 8 Whoever fails to love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is the revelation of God’s love for us, that God sent his only Son into the world that we might have life through him. 10 Love consists in this: it is not we who loved God, but God loved us and sent his Son to expiate our sins. 11 My dear friends, if God loved us so much, we too should love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God, but as long as we love one another God remains in us and his love comes to its perfection in us. 13 This is the proof that we remain in him and he in us, that he has given us a share in his Spirit. 14 We ourselves have seen and testify that the Father sent his Son as Savior of the world. 15 Anyone who acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God remains in him and he in God.

 

16 We have recognized for ourselves, and put our faith in, the love God has for us. God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him. 17 Love comes to its perfection in us when we can face the Day of Judgment fearlessly, because even in this world we have become as he is. 18 In love there is no room for fear, but perfect love drives out fear, because fear implies punishment and no one who is afraid has come to perfection in love. 19 Let us love, then, because he first loved us. 20 Anyone who says ‘I love God’ and hates his brother, is a liar, since whoever does not love the brother whom he can see cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21 Indeed this is the commandment we have received from him, that whoever loves God, must also love his brother. Isn’t that beautiful???

LIGHT ≡ GOD ≡ LOVE. Whoever walks in Light walks in Love, and whoever walks in Love walks in God, and whoever walks in God walks in the Light and Love of God and the Light and Love of God are in him and he in them. If I tell you I am in the light, you should be able to see me because all becomes visible in the Light. If you cannot see me, it is because I am hidden in the darkness. John insists that Jesus is the Son of God made known to us in real, human flesh. He reminds us that if we know that Jesus is the True, Living, Only-Begotten Son of God in the flesh, then we should be more than willing to obey all the commandments of God both in scripture and in civil law and authority. This obedience, the opposite of sinfulness, comes through our commitment to live in the Light and Love of God by sharing the Light and Love of God by living Godly – that is, Holy – lives. This is only possible when God has Primacy in all things. When you live in and for God you live in and for Light, in and for Love, and in and for each other – all the other bearers of THE Light of the World – Jesus.

The purpose of these lessons has been to encourage you to read your Bible enough that you get excited about studying your Bible. The First Letter of John is such a treasure because it has so many scriptural jewels in it. I want you to know the joy of running that treasure through your hands, into your mind, and from there straight to your heart. First John is wonderful reading, and I know I will come back to this book again and again in the coming years so I can share with you the beautiful thoughts John penned under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. I love you and I see you, so you are in the Light. Come and bathe in the Light of the Living Word of God. Let us especially delight in going together this weekend to the holiest season of all, Easter.

Today is Good Friday in addition to Aloha Friday. If you have the day off, please consider taking part of your day to read First John – it’s near the end of the New Testament (fifth from the book of Revelation). It’s only 5 chapters, five short chapters at that. Believe me, you will be blessed for the time you spend reading it! If you don’t have the day off, please try to make some time this weekend to read this wonderful letter.

Whatever, whenever, wherever, whoever, however, if ever, forever — at your service, Beloved.

chick

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About Chick Todd

American Roman Catholic reared as a "Baptiterian" in Denver Colorado.

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