1 John 2:12-13
I am writing to you, dear children,
because your sins have been forgiven on account of his name.
I am writing to you, fathers,
because you know him who is from the beginning.
I am writing to you, young men,
because you have overcome the evil one.
My best friend from junior high has a God-given artistic flair. He can write poetry, play several musical instruments, and create amazing visual art. He went on to become a professional musician, recording and producing a wide range of music, including Christian worship songs that have touched my heart. Artists share with the world their special abilities to capture human emotion, truth and beauty in deeply meaningful ways. 2,000 years ago, Jesus called a young man from his fishing boat, invited him to become an evangelist, and gave him an artistic gift. John went on to tell the world about the Savior through his writing and poetry, crafting some of the most inspirational passages in the New Testament, including the extraordinary word-images in Revelation, the theologically rich account of Jesus’ life and teachings in the Gospel of John, and these lines of poetry in his first epistle. The poetic form catches our attention, and the words deliver truth to our hearts.
Ancient poetry doesn’t rhyme or follow the sing-song meter that we typically expect from verse, but you can still recognize poetic elements in John’s words. The most obvious is the symmetry of repeated phrases: “I am writing to you… because…” Each couplet is addressed to a specific group of people in the church, and the second lines apply equally to everyone. John wants people of all ages to know who we are in Christ. Your sins have been forgiven in Jesus’ name. You have a relationship with the eternal God. You have overcome Satan and his forces of evil. This is who we are. This is who all followers of Jesus are.
There are some truths that deserve to be repeated, written in verse, set to music and etched onto our hearts. We need to be reminded of these essential truths over and over again, because they keep our hearts aligned with the One to whom we belong. Too often, we forget who we are in Christ and act like we belong to the world with all its vanity, folly and brokenness. We may forget that we have been forgiven, that God loves us and that through Jesus we can overcome the world’s darkness. Reread these lines of poetry. Let them sink deeply into your heart so you will know for sure who you are in Christ.
Father in Heaven, You are eternally good and forever great. Thank You for reminding me that, through Jesus, I am forgiven, loved and spiritually strong. Help me to share this good news with others and to offer them the hope I have found in my Savior’s name. Amen.
Pastor Mike Mirakian