google-site-verification: google3e8cc4742c5fd8a2.html Gems in the Letter of 1 John - Part 114
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Gems in the Letter of 1 John

Part 114 - 1 John 4:4
Comparative powers



This is a delightful part verse, “the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world”, but extraordinary difficult to see the truth of it in our world! Of course, theoretically, it must be true. It was the Triune God, Father, Son and Spirit which created this world we live in. They have not relinquished control of it so it must be greater than any created thing or being. But does it really seem to be true in the real world as one national leader after another organises things so that tens, and hundreds and hundreds of thousands of people are killed in order that they can stay in power. Surely they are all driven on by the same evil power rampant in our world. It is good to assert that the power of the Lord is in all things greater than that of any other, but is it true.

We have a real problem in understanding the reality of this assertion. It is true because we have not really thought through what ‘greater’ means. Our knowledge of God must be basically founded on Jesus. The accounts we have of his ministry are by far the most information we have about God. He did nothing that his Father would not have done. He said, “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.” And we can be sure that relationship was reciprocal: what we see the Son doing we know the Father could also do. If the Son mirrors the Father in what he does, then the Father mirrors the Son.

Jesus very clearly redefined many things, amongst them greatness, all the things that it is great to do. Perhaps most famously he told off James and John when they asked to have the privileged positions next to him in the kingdom they thought he was going to set up. He said; “you know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10: 41 – 45).

Also famously he took a towel and washed their feet. His explanation of his action was, “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.” (John 13: 12b – 17).

If we put these sayings of Jesus alongside what John says we realise that in the world of the kingdom of God man,y things are indeed greater than they are in the outside world. The Spirit that is in us is the chief conveyor of that greatness. Our problem and difficulty is to live up to the possible potential of what has been given to us.

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