Yr B ~ Easter 6 ~ 1 John 5:1-6
This! If you’re into social media at all you’ve probably encountered “This!” It indicates importance and emphasis and authority! Often it appears with an arrow pointing either at another post or comment. It’s saying “Hey! Look at this! This is really important. This is, IMHO (in my humble opinion) worth reading again. This comment really ‘gets’ it. This says it better than I could. Out of all the other noise here ‘This’ is the best insight. This is truth! This is what it’s all about!”
A few years ago we would’ve said “Word!” or “Truth!” In the book of psalms they said “This!” by using the word “Selah!”
Selah! Truth! Word!
So, now that I’ve set that all up, what is the “This!” in this scripture passage? Well, in just 6 verses we actually get 4 “This”-es. And I think “This” will help us in tackling this passage which is generally accepted as being really tricky, and dense, and circular, and confusing, and hard to understand. So let’s see what “This” is all about! Hopefully, “This” helps.
1 John 5:1-2 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the parent loves the child.
By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey God’s commandments.
To paraphrase – Everyone who trusts in Jesus and makes some sort of confession of faith like “I believe” or “Jesus is Lord” has been born of God, is a child of God.
And how do we know whether we love those children of God? By THIS – by loving God and keeping God’s commandments!
Ok, which commandments?
There’s the big 10 that Moses did with the tablets and the mountain thing, there’s the 613 laws of Torah, and there’s our big 3 that we find in Mark 12 and John 13 – to love God, love people, and love one another.
That’s what we mean around here whenever we say love, love, love (like we will in the offering prayer today).
And who are God’s children again? Those who’ve made an affirmation of faith of some kind.
In other words, us.
Look around. You’re surrounded by children of God – by people who have claimed the love of God and claimed God as parent, or father, or even Holy Mystery.
And THIS is how we know we love these people according to verse 2 – by loving God and keeping the commandments.
In other words, by love, love, love.
Then the writer of John says it again, just to make sure we don’t miss it. In addition to loving God’s children we learn how to love God too.
1 John 5:3
For the love of God is this, that we obey God’s commandments. And God’s commandments are not burdensome.
THIS! To love God is to obey God’s commandment to love, love, love.
Is that burdensome?
No, it’s not burdensome, but it’s not easy either.
What’s the measure of knowing if you love God or not?
That you love others and love one another!
But be careful here. You may have encountered people who think that Christianity’s all about being a do-gooder. It’s so much more than that. read on