Communication which Leads to Joy
The only way in which we can know the personality, character, lifestyle and teaching of Jesus is through the writings of the apostles who Jesus appointed, building on the writings of the Old Testament prophets. They had all (including Paul on the road to Damascus) met the risen Christ and been commissioned to communicate who He is and the message of His gospel to the whole world. So our Christian faith does not rely on the personal thoughts of successive church leaders but the writings of men who were specially commissioned and enabled by the Holy Spirit.
The apostles were primarily verbal communicators. It brought them great joy to talk about Jesus. They only wrote when they could not speak face to face. The apostles may well have thought that the Lord would return in their lifetime, and that added urgency to their gospel message. But the Lord knew that their letters were necessary for the church after they had died (most were killed). God knew that their ministry needed to continue through many generations.
God allowed imprisonment and other difficult circumstances to isolate some of the apostles so that they could only communicate in writing. It was all part of God's plan. But John longed to be able to explain the things of God more fully face to face. The ministry of the apostles continues now through evangelists, pastors and teachers. Face to face communication is the best way to explain what the Lord has done, and give the opportunity to ask and answer questions. It is always a joy to tell others about God's loving plan.
Word@Work brings you God's Word with a little explanation. As you pray about how you should respond to the teaching in obedience to the Lord, have you also thought about trying to explain it to other people? We know that many people forward the email on to friends and colleagues elsewhere, but how about the people you live and work with? Don't forget that you are not the apostle; the work of defining doctrine has already been done. Your job is to explain it to other people. As you do, you will develop greater confidence in speaking about Jesus; and much joy.
© Dr Paul Adams