…that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed jour fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our [yours and ours] joy may be complete. (1 John 1:3-4)
Imagine someone in prison writing to you and saying, “Wish you were here. Come and join me”. You would think, ‘Surely you can’t be serious – why on earth would I want to join you? What’s the attraction?’ John proclaims and writes about Jesus so that you will join him but it sure doesn’t look like an attractive offer. John writes these words as a man who has lost everything. Thanks to Jesus, John is now a refugee with no place to call home. He is probably writing from Ephesus, a cosmopolitan city with a very powerful and organised religion that worshipped Artemis. Artemis was gorgeous. Everyone knows it was true too, because her image had fallen from the sky. The proof was there. Her temple was so impressive it was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. This is a religion that will get you places. Not only does it promise and deliver lots of sex – because that was how you worshipped her – it gets you into trade guilds and makes you friends with wealthy and powerful people. To follow Artemis was a very attractive offer. By contrast, John’s religion has nothing to commend it; no priests, no temple, no following, and no powerplays. It didn’t look like a lot of fun either. In fact, the One whom John follows emphatically said, ‘If anyone would follow me let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow me’. This is a guarantee of suffering and death. Most of the other disciples had been executed and soon John would be exiled to a remote island called Patmos. So why on earth would we take up John’s offer? Here’s why: “… our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ.” Only fellowship with God will result in your complete joy: “And we are writing these things so that our [yours and ours together] joy may be complete.” Here’s what’s on offer: enjoying God. Despite all the hardships, despite all the scoffing and ostracising, despite losing almost everything that this world can offer, John says that it is more than worth it. John says that the pearl of great price which makes it worth selling everything so that you can buy this one thing is enjoying God. To have fellowship with the Father, and with His Son in complete joy makes it all worthwhile. What Christianity offers is God. You may get nothing else. But Christians don’t mind that. We get the One thing that is worth a billion Universes. We get God. We get to enjoy God forever. PRAY that God will teach you how to have fellowship with Him and enjoy Him.