Nugget #1 This is a book that I spent some time in when I was taking Greek in college and I made a few notes in my Bible. One word that really stood out to me is found in verse 2. There is one word which has been translated in the NIV as "the atoning sacrifice for our sins", ιλασμοζ is a word meaning "the means by which sins are forgiven". Jesus is our ιλασμοζ, and not only ours, but the ιλασμοζ for the world. That is a loaded, powerful word. The translation of that word beckons the question, "how can sins really be forgiven?" From a worldly stand point, there is little reason or motivation to forgive sins committed against you. Being in China provides a shocking reminder of what a secular perspective looks like, because many come from a completely religious-less background. We went to a special needs orphanage yesterday and played with some of the kids. My mom was telling me a story about how some of the Chinese that have gone before having any understanding of Christianity were completely dumbfounded as to why anyone would take the time to care and love on these seemingly "worthless" kids. In the same mindset, why would anyone bother to forgive? It is not a concept of this world. It is only through Christ that an ιλασμοζ can be found.
Nugget #2 Verses 7 and 8 contrast old and new commands. Verse 7 refers to an old command and 8 begins a new command. I had a hard time understanding the way these two were worded, but from my understanding the new command is new because "the darkness is passing and the true light is already shinning". This made me wonder, were the Israelites ever referred to as children of light...or in any way compared to light as the New Testament refers to the children of God? I don't think they were, so being "in the light" is a new concept with Christ as Messiah. The "true light is already shinning" sounds like a new era which we are privileged to live in. The verses following seem to repeat the same concept as the previous verses, only using the light and dark analogies.
Nugget #3 "As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you..." Another privilege to being in Christ. There is a deep understanding that comes with accepting Christ as Lord that cannot be learned or taught. Not to say that we can't still learn from others, because, of course, we can receive wisdom and encouragement and insight from fellow believers, but that we do not need anyone to teach us the truth because we "remain in the Son and in the Father" (v24). If we remain in Him, we are in truth and need not be told what is true and what is not. Does that mean I shouldn't ask for anyone's advice? Absolutely not. God speaks through His people. To me this verse means, don't follow "teachings" but follow truth.
I hope this finds all of you well in your respective corners of the world. Sorry it's so segmented. Please pray for me to use my time wisely, as I am still working on figuring out what exactly I will be doing while I'm here. Thank you all for your sweet friendship and challenge to remain in the Word. Love you!