I must say to begin with that the letters of John come like a bright shaft of light after the challenging passages of Peter's letters and the straight talking of James. I struggle to understand that the church I grew up in did not embrace these teachings more fully as John's words open our hearts to many aspects of God's gracious love for us and for every person we know or don't know. If you have the chance, read through his three letters before you begin to read through my blogs. The apostle John, the 'beloved' of Jesus, gives his readers his reason for writing this letter right at the start. He writes so that others might share the joy which is for all who come to understand that the coming of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is good news for everyone! John had the great privilege of spending three years with Jesus, seen Him, heard Him and touched Him! What a blessing! He has spent the rest of his life telling others about the Christ. This letter is likely to have been written around the turn of the first century with John in his nineties and it was probably written to the church in Ephesus, where John spent many years. It is important to keep in the back of our minds that he was thus writing to second even third generation Christians and it appears that they were beginning to find the standards demanded by Christianity rather too demanding, so that the peril was no longer persecution, but seduction from within. John is writing to fight against heresy and particularly Gnosticism, which we have looked at when studying his eponymous Gospel. John begins his letter by echoing the first paragraph of his Gospel and the opening chapter of Genesis. He reminds his readers of the beauty of the Gospel and of why he is the first authority for telling the stories of Jesus, as by this time he would almost certainly have been the last of the Twelve still alive. John reminds his readers of three things concerning Jesus: 1. He was from the beginning, that is to say that in Him eternity entered time. 2. The entry of Jesus into the world was a real entry, God took humanity fully upon Himself in Jesus Christ. 3. Through that, men and women experienced the Word of life in their presence. I think you will find our journey through these letters over the next five weeks an exciting one!