The message that is "from the beginning"

"This is the message you heard from the beginning: we should love one another" (1 Jn 3:11).

I am struck by the first half of this verse: "this is the message you heard from the beginning." John is saying that the message to love one another is an old message. It hasn't changed. In Jn 13:34-35, Jesus told his disciples that he was leaving them one commandment: to love one another. Surely John has that episode in mind when he says, "from the beginning." But he goes back even further than Jesus. In 1 Jn 3:12, he brings up the story of Cain and Abel. Cain hated his brother and killed him. "Do not be like Cain," cautions John. In other words, the central requirement to love one another (and not to hate one another) goes all the way back to the dawn of human beings.

A message that is "from the beginning" comes from God's heart, for "in the beginning was God."

A message that is "from the beginning" expresses the core of what it means to be human beings, created in God's image.

A message that is "from the beginning" should not surprise us.

A message that is "from the beginning" is stable and solid. We can stand on this message.

A message that is "from the beginning" is permanent. It is not going anywhere. It will be the same message tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day. It was the message in the age before Jesus, it is the message in the age of Jesus' church, and it will be the message in the age of Jesus' fulfilled kingdom (see also 1 Cor 13:8-13). If we only remember one message, let it be this: "we should love one another."

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