By the time the apostle John wrote these three letters, he was an elderly and revered leader of the church and perhaps the last living apostle. Once one of the “sons of thunder” (Mark 3:17), John was also “the disciple whom Jesus loved” (John 13:23). Though he doesn’t directly name himself in these letters, the early church fathers unanimously agreed that John was the author. In addition, John was an eyewitness of the life of Christ.
Following the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D., John was living and ministering in Ephesus. He wrote these letters to believers in western Asia sometime between 85 A.D. (when he wrote the Gospel of John) and 95 A.D. (when he wrote Revelation). These three letters focus on the assurance of salvation, love and obedience, and recognizing false teaching.
At the start of his first letter, John stresses the concrete reality of the Incarnation. He had seen Jesus with his own eyes and heard Him with his own ears (v. 1). The life, death, and resurrection of Jesus were not fiction, but historical fact. Ever since then, John and the other apostles had joyfully testified to the fact that Jesus alone is the way, the truth, and the life (vv. 2, 4; see also John 1:4; 14:6). The “Word of life” brought eternal life for all who believe—this is the good news, the gospel!
Christ is the foundation for fellowship with God and with one another (v. 3). The second Person of the Trinity became one of us, paid the penalty for our sins, and conquered death. Only by believing in Him, can we have peace with God and join His family.
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Lord Jesus, we have not physically heard or seen You, but we know You through personal experience, through prayer, through Your Word. This month please draw us closer to You and help us be attentive to Your guidance.