2 John 12 (HCSB)
12 Though I have many things to write to you, I don’t want to do so with paper and ink. Instead, I hope to be with you and talk face to face so that our joy may be complete.
This is a two verse passage, the closing of the letter 2 John. Similar to the opening, we might not think there is much to notice here, but even here there is something profitable.
- “I have many things to write to you” – Are we ever done learning and growing as believers? Surely the constant stream of Christian literature, both academic and entertaining, suggests we continue to understand scripture and God in new and different ways, or at a minimum, we find new and different ways to convey His truth. So it was with the church that John was writing to, as it is with us now. My guess is that not only was there much more concerning all facets of Christianity that John would have liked to write to his audience, but there was likely plenty more he wanted to write concerning the core topic of this short letter!
- “Talk face to face” – There is nothing wrong with the written word, this is the foundation of revealed truth for us: the Bible! But, there are aspects of face to face interaction that writing simply cannot reproduce. As much as we can learn from reading, we must supplant our growth with personal engagement with other believers. I think that John reminds us, especially in our current high-tech world, which finds us closer than ever, yet further apart than ever, that we must engage to grow.
- “So that our joy may be complete” – I think that this last phrase in 2 John 12 has a dual meaning. On one hand, I think John is saying that the personal relationship, the deepening of it, between he and his audience, leads to a more complete joy. On the other hand, I think John is also alluding to the relation of teacher and student, and the instructing up of believers to be mature and holy. And we, as believers, fall into both roles at different times. We should embrace both, learning from the wisdom of others when we can, and imparting the knowledge we’ve been blessed with to others. These relational models certainly do lead to a more complete joy.
Lord, thank You for men and women such as John, who reach out and encourage the body of Your church. I pray that their influence would spread, and that their ranks would grow. Help each of us to embrace the core of John’s message, of Your message, and love each other. Amen.