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(Part 86)


January 2, 2014

Today’s readings:
1 John 2:22-28
Psalm 98:1-4
John 1:19-28

We are on the second day of our new year, but in order to prepare ourselves for the work at the beginning of this new year, we again still go to the end, that is, the end times. John tells us, “And now, children, remain in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not be put to shame by him at his coming.” (1 Jn 2:28). Jesus is coming. Jesus is going to appear again. When he does, we do not want to be put to shame, that is, to be told that we are not welcome in heaven but are going to hell. How do we avoid that? How can we have the confidence that we will be accepted? We need to remain in him.

To remain in him is to live Christ. Not leave Christ, but live Christ. Not leave but remain. What does it mean to live Christ? John repeatedly speaks about “remaining.” “Let what you heard from the beginning remain in you. If what you heard from the beginning remains in you, then you will remain in the Son and in the Father.” (1 Jn 2:24). He speaks about the authentic apostolic witness, the truth about the gospel, the right response to Jesus. He speaks about the centrality of Jesus, which the enemy is trying so hard, unfortunately with good success today, to destroy. This is the work of the antichrist, the one who is anti-Christ, the complete antithesis of Christ. As against the truth of the gospel, the evil one is the father of lies. “Who is the liar? Whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ. Whoever denies the Father and the Son, this is the antichrist.” (1 Jn 2:22).

So we need to meet Christ and to know Christ. We need to know the authentic gospel. We need to know that only in Jesus is our salvation. Only in Jesus will we not be put to shame at the end of time. This is our confidence, since it is based on the promise of God. “And this is the promise he made us: eternal life.” (1 Jn 2:25).

But the enemy continues to deceive many. So we need to tell them the truth. We need to proclaim the gospel to them. We need to share Christ. John said, “I write you these things about those who would deceive you.” (1 Jn 2:26). In turn, we speak to people of these things so they will know the truth, which sets them free and brings them to salvation.

What is the truth of the gospel?

  • “He has remembered his mercy and faithfulness” (Ps 98:3a). God is merciful and faithful. He loves us with an eternal love. Jesus want us to live eternally with him in heaven.
  • “His right hand and holy arm have won the victory.” (Ps 98:1c). Jesus has crushed the head of the serpent and has won our salvation through the cross. We as his people share in his victory over death, sin and the evil one.
  • “he has done marvelous deeds.” (Ps 98:1b). Jesus is present in our lives. He guides and blesses us. He considers us his friends.
  • “The Lord has made his victory known; has revealed his triumph in the sight of the nations” (Ps 98:2). “All the ends of the earth have seen the victory of our God.” (Ps 98:3b). God desires all to be saved. So Jesus sends his disciples to proclaim his salvation to the ends of the earth.

So we need to share Christ. Since this is our commission, our marching orders, we are given the grace and authority and power to accomplish the task. In other words, we are anointed for the work. We must have this confidence. “As for you, the anointing that you received from him remains in you” (1 Jn 2:27a). If we remain in Jesus, then his anointing remains in us. If we live Christ, we are empowered to witness to him and so can share Christ.

There are still those who might question why we speak, preach and teach about Jesus. The Jews also asked John the Baptist, “Who are you?” (Jn 1:19). Though anointed, we are “not the Messiah.” (Jn 1:20). Though we speak prophetically, we are not Elijah or the Prophet (Jn 1:21). So who are we? We are those sent by God, just like John, into the desert of the world to prepare the way for the coming of Jesus. “I am ‘the voice of one crying out in the desert, “Make straight the way of the Lord,” ’ ” (Jn 1:23). Further, aside from the proclamation of the gospel, John baptized with water (Jn 1:26a), and Jesus baptized with the Holy Spirit. We in turn pray with people for their baptism in the Spirit, so that they might be able to truly meet and know Christ, “the one among you whom you do not recognize” (Jn 1:26b). We help prepare the way, for “the one who is coming after (us)” (Jn 1:27a).

At Christmas we sang, “Joy to the world, the Lord is come.” Now we look forward to the second coming of the Lord, by moving onward to the New Evangelization. May the whole world then be able to proclaim: “Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth; break into song; sing praise.” (Ps 98:4).

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