In the summer of 2022, the U.S. Postal Service’s longest-tenured letter carrier, Johnnie Bell, celebrated 70 years of sorting and delivering mail in Oklahoma City. When he started, the pay was only $1.81 per hour. “Thanks so much for this recognition,” he said humbly. “This is just something I do because I enjoy doing it.”
We don’t know who delivered the letter of 2 John, but a letter from the revered apostle surely brought joy to the churches in western Asia. The “elder” in verse 1 is of course John himself. The “lady” seems to be a person who was well-known in the church and might have been a house-church host or leader. Some scholars, though, identify “lady” as a metaphor for a particular church congregation. In either case, John loves her “in the truth,” that is, because God’s truth lives in both of them and will do so forever (v. 2). His greeting links truth and love to God’s grace, mercy, and peace (v. 3).
John felt joy to write to believers who walked in truth and obedience to God’s commands (v. 4). “Some” meant not everyone, but he still rejoiced. “Children” meant fellow members of God’s family, perhaps specifically believers who had become followers of Christ through his ministry.
The main topic of John’s second letter echoes the first: “Love one another” (v. 5). This type of love is not merely a feeling or emotion but means to follow in the humility and servitude shown by Jesus. The church had been following this command ever since it was founded by Christ (John 13:34–35). John defined love as walking in obedience, and obedience as walking in love (v. 6; see February 20). You cannot separate one from the other.
>> How do you show love to others? In The 5 Love Languages, Dr. Gary Chapman identified the different ways we tend to show and receive love. Find out your love language today at 5lovelanguages.com.
Father, help us not to take Your love for granted. Help us reverently obey Your charge to love one another as we have been loved by You. May we find joy in loving and serving our brothers and sisters in Christ!