The debate continues ad infinitum regarding the identity of Jesus. The content of Jesus’ teaching is questioned and the nature of his claims watered down. This is today, yet the same debate existed in the first century. Today we see the Apostle John’s response…
7 I say this because many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist. 8 Watch out that you do not lose what we have worked for, but that you may be rewarded fully. 9 Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take them into your house or welcome them. 11 Anyone who welcomes them shares in their wicked work.
John is being very clear about the importance of Christ Jesus and staying connected to him. He criticizes those who do not acknowledge Jesus’ time on earth, and who walk away from the teaching of Jesus. Jesus’ earthly ministry and teaching are central to John’s life and ministry. He can’t imagine walking away from them.
Because if you don’t continue in the teaching of Jesus, you don’t have God (verse 9). That’s what John says. In fact, he is paraphrasing what Jesus himself said in John 14:6: Jesus declared that he is the way, the truth, and the life, and no one comes to the Father except through him. Jesus said if you don’t have him, you don’t have God. John repeated it.
The more I read my Bible, the more I am confronted with the clear message of Jesus regarding his identity, his mission and sacrifice for us, and his centrality to our ability to relate to God.
John reveals that in his day, there were many people who were trying to convince people that these truths were false. This continues today. Just a man. Just a good teacher. Never said he was God. Written by men and therefore unreliable. The opposition to Jesus remains.
His offer remains also. Jesus said, “Come to me.” We have freedom of choice and freedom of conscience. Freedom of belief. Jesus makes the offer. And the offer stands.
I encourage us to consider Jesus’ teachings and his offer of eternal life. Continue in his way.