Thoughts on the Passage
Here are two thoughts.
First, the antichrist who is coming is not the only individual with these rebellious characteristics or who has power to oppress mankind and especially the people of God. They come all the time. Satan does not know when the end is coming, so he has to raise these people every generation. Every generation has these people! When the final generation comes, God will allow that antichrist freedom to oppress that no one has ever had in the past. However, they existed throughout history – and they exist today. They do the same things today to God’s people as well.
Second, God’s purpose is to fill heaven. Satan’s purpose is to destroy mankind and prevent the Church from reaching these people with the Good News. So God’s patience with mankind opens the door for satan to attack the Church – with vigor and harshness. It takes endurance to fulfill God’s command when facing this kind of hatred. It takes a determination to be faithful in the midst of great opposition. It takes a willingness to confront evil even at great personal cost.
John, in writing to spiritual children, tells them another key thought – people who oppose Jesus are people who love lies. They lie about many things, but they cannot lie about loving Jesus! Jesus – the Son of God – is not someone they will ever love. It is good to be reminded of this. We love Him – because He loved us so much that He died to set us free. They hate Him, because He died to set people free from satan’s control and He condemns the evil that people do. It is good to remember this when we see it in our world.
Father, You ask us to persevere under great oppression. I find that so hard at times. We are Your children, and yet You ask us to reach out to people while facing determined attacks. You know exactly what You are asking of us. Jesus faced exactly this as well. You are not asking me to do something impossible, because Jesus did it in the power of Your Spirit – and we have Your Spirit. In the midst of this, Jesus promised Your peace, Your joy, Your love for mankind, Your compassion, and Your strength. We argue so much that it should not be necessary, and yet for Jesus it was – why should it be different for us? So today, release Your peace and joy. Release a passion to share the love of Jesus. Release a boldness that is filled with Your love for a broken world. That love will transcend and defeat - just as it did with Jesus. So fill Your children – and me especially – with Your boldness. In Jesus Name, Amen.