John is writing a very short letter to one of the churches. His letter appears to be speaking to one person, but my bible helps say otherwise.
We are going to take a look at John’s greeting today. “The elder to the elect lady and her children” (verse 1a).
My first question when reading this is who is the lady and why was she not named? It would have been a great honor to have one of the elders of the church write directly to me, but then again maybe not. The majority of the letters written to the churches were for correction. I would want to know when I was out of line but definitely wouldn’t want that shared with the rest of the world, as this letter was.
At first glance it looked like John was commending this woman for raising godly children. But my bible helps tells me that John’s address was really to a church and its members. So why would John’s address say “the elect lady and her children”?
I believe his vagueness and circumspect reference were for their safety. John is writing in a time when being a Christian is very dangerous and having a house church even more so. Persecution had ramped up significantly and the believer’s physical life was at stake when identified. So not naming the “elect lady” was prudent.
The practice of calling the churches “she” comes from us being Christ’s bride. Together, as a whole, we are His bride and as such are referred to using a feminine pronoun.
The elect lady’s “children” were the members or participants in that church. Our Father is God but our “mother” is the church we belong to. It takes two parents, even in our spiritual lives, to raise a “healthy child.” Our Father provides our bloodline while our mother cares for us as we grow. She provides us with milk. Cares for our needs. Provides us with a framework for our learning. Supports us as we learn to stand and walk. She provides discipline and encouragement all our lives.
ALL these actions are overseen by her Husband. She does NOTHING that would go against Him. She is subject to Him and looks to Him for her very life. He is her all and she raises her children to respect and honor Him.
This is the mother and children John is writing to. The children who receive “grace, mercy and peace” from their Father; Jesus Christ the Father’s Son.
While just writing this I was thinking about being “God’s grandchild.” But then I was reminded about Joseph and Israel. The children that Joseph had while alone in Egypt became Israel’s children, not grandchildren. Their father’s father took them as his own. That’s how I see what is happening here. We are Jesus’ children but also His brothers and sisters.
The adoption of Manassas and Ephraim didn’t change their origin or deny their birth father, instead it changed their inheritance and standing. No longer were they the “next generation” but they received on par an inheritance equal with those naturally born into the household. Joseph’s inheritance was doubled and divided equally with his children.
Jesus passes His inheritance to us through adoption by His Father. We are able to make requests using His name. We have a home in Heaven as God’s children. We have the rights of a child of God because we accepted Jesus as our Father; our Savior; the Originator of our new life.
Father God, thank You for being my Father. I seldom see my grandparents but my parents were ALWAYS with me growing up. The relationship between me and my parents is also SO much deeper than with my grandparents. Thank You for adopting me.
Thank You Jesus for being my Father and my Brother. Thank You for bringing me to Your Father and presenting me to Him for His own. I wouldn’t have any standing with Him without Your intervention. You brought me to Your Father; the BEST Father You knew.
Thank You also for placing “my mother” in my life to train me in Your ways. I have learned so much over the years under “her” care. Thank You always for directing “her” ways too. Without “both parents” I would be incomplete. I would be a bastard or an urchin wandering the streets.
I still have a long way to go before I’m “full grown” but I have no earthly church right now. I pray that our relationship is strong enough for me to keep growing anyway. Thank You Father God for Your Holy Spirit who guides me during this time. Thank You for speaking to me through Your word every time we come together. Keep me growing every day Father, even in the absence of “my mother.”