As we noted several days ago, John’s opening here in 1 John 1:1-4 functions like a Rose, wherein we can begin in the middle and work our way outward from center to circumference. As we have worked our way through this text, we now arrive at the purpose for which John wrote these verses in 1:4 – “These things we write, so that our joy may be made complete.”
The nature of joy
Joy by its very nature cannot be contained in solitary confinement – it must be shared with another person in order for it to be genuinely called joy. Why? Because Joy is meant to be shared in relationship. Consider John’s remarks about Him being both captivated and captured by His central focus on The WORD Jesus Christ and the Word – the scriptures.
The Promise of joy to those who cherish the Word and the WORD
This fourth verse is both a promise and an exhortation. It is a promise because the readers are told that by reading John’s words, they will have full joy. This isn’t the first time John connects the idea of “joy” or “blessedness” to the reading of what He wrote. In Revelation 1:3 he writes: “Blessed is the one who reads and heeds these words”. It’s not because John wrote them, rather because of the One who is supernaturally guiding the process of the composition of those words. The subject of the revelation is also the object to whom the revelation points.
These are not just the ramblings of a 90 plus year old preacher writing inspirational thoughts to his readers – these are God’s words, fully inspired, God breathed through the flowing and simple language of this Apostle. Joy, Full joy, is to be found due to these being “The Words” of God written about the “WORD of God” living.
Powerful reason to cherish the Word and THE WORD: your joy depends upon it
The promise of fullness of joy also is accompanied by the exhortation to read these words. Now the exhortation – or urging to do what is written – is not stated, but expected. In other words, John is writing with the expectation that other people will read. Communication involves the intention of the reader and the expectation that someone is listening.
John is so full of joy over what He has experienced and witnessed for the past 60 plus years that he cannot stand to keep it to Himself. He sees his flock, he sees them striving to be Godly, yet their joy is not full. When a pastor sees his people struggling, the urgency is to see them full of the goodness of joy that will last through thick and thin. As any good pastor knows, only one prescription will do – centering and enjoying oneself around The WORD and The Word.
Practical example of cherishing the Word and THE WORD
He writes for this purpose: that our joy may be made complete. Note what he didn’t write: “that our joy is complete”. In order to have the fullness of joy written of in this text, the Christian must avail themselves by actually opening up their Bibles – and marveling at the wondrous things of scripture. (Psalm 119:18). In doing so, they will meet Jesus the Living Word, whose aim is to meet with them.
Pleasure of cherishing the Word and THE WORD
To see the rainbow, I must look through the prism. I behold the pure white light, its point of entry. The properties of that light remain the same in terms of substance, yet they are united with that prism. I look at the light coming out on the other side, and I see the seven-fold colors of the rainbow. Those that study optics will tell you those seven colors correspond to specific frequencies of light that are the same no matter what rainbow you look at. The colors dazzle me, and my heart is amazed.
To see the infinite glory of Jesus Christ, I must see His Deity united in His Person to His sinless, post-resurrection humanity. As I do, it is the scripture that spells out for me in specific detail how beautiful and significant He is. The Written Word in the Old Testament and the Gospels record for me the prediction and portrayal of His Deity coming into time and entering through the virgin’s human womb. As He is born, as He lives, as He is crucified, raised and ascended, I am beholding the glory refracted through the prism of sinless humanity. It is the Acts and Epistles that explain to me the many-fold character of His glory.
He is communicated brilliantly. My joy is made full and complete.
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