13 I had much to write to you, but I would rather not write with pen and ink. 14 I hope to see you soon, and we will talk face to face.15 Peace be to you. The friends greet you. Greet the friends, each by name.
3 JOHN 13-15 ESV
John’s letter had to end, but there was still much he wanted to talk to the church, and he would rather not write with pen and ink but hope to speak to them face to face. In John’s time, writing letters was the only way of communication with those being away. Though nowadays, technology has provided more options and convenience for communication, it does not diminish the value of “face-to-face” interaction. We all experienced how much we wanted to see people after the lockdowns in the pandemic. No matter how fast our internet is at home, nothing can take the place of speaking “face to face” with someone because God put that desire for community and interpersonal relationships in our hearts! Hence the family of God, and I am grateful for the family of God!
“Greet the friends, each by name.” Knowing each by name further adds to the personal touch needed in communication. A church is more than just a place to gather. Just like a home is more than merely a house to live in. It is the people in there that matter. Being in the family of God is not about only doing our own business. We are related and connected in love and Christ. We are friends and brothers and sisters. Paul said in the Book of Philippians – “not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” (Philippians 2:4). That is what we do in church – to love and care for one another and look to the interests of others.
We may not be able to know every brother and sister by their names on earth, but we will when we face our Lord face to face in heaven one day. Each of our names will be called out in heaven. That is the hope we all share and look forward to. And the relationship we have in His family, as friends and brothers and sisters, is a relationship that would last through eternity.
John’s words had to end, but his hope and love for the church continued. So, as we are reading the words today, we are also the ones that keep the hope and love going.