2Jn 1:1-3 “The elder unto the elect lady and her children, whom I love in the truth; and not I only, but also all they that have known the truth; For the truth’s sake, which dwelleth in us, and shall be with us for ever. Grace be with you, mercy, and peace, from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.”
While none of the letters attributed to John actually mention him by name, a similarity to the writing style of John’s record of the gospel as well as early church documents make a strong case for his authorship. Based on the historical writings of Irenaeus and early church tradition, John was also pastor of the church at Ephesus during the later years of his life. Historically, he is thought to have lived to be 93 to 94 years old and the only one of the apostles to die a peaceful and natural death.
Again based on historical documentation, John would have been between 65 and 75 years old when this letter was written. This age would certainly qualify him as an “elder” by chronological reckoning. However, the term here appears to be more in reference to a state of spiritual maturity and office than chronological longevity based on his greeting to the “elect lady and her children.”
I see here a pastor in the later years of his life that has seen the violent deaths of many that he served with and loved. He has seen his fellow Christians attacked, imprisoned, and killed. He has endured personal abuse and banishment. He has heard the truth of his Lord Jesus denied and despised. Yet, with much love and tenderness, he addresses the church and her children without any hint of bitterness at what he or they have been called on to endure.
He expresses his love for the church “in the truth.” As servants of Jesus Christ and His bride I pray that we, as elders, may always have a sincere love for the elect lady and her children. I pray for God to protect us from becoming cynical or apathetic toward our calling and the blessing of being a servant. How wonderful to have the assurance that the truth dwells in us (the elder, the elect lady, and her children). What a joy to know that the elect lady and her children are loved, not only by us, but also by all that have known the truth.
It is wonderful to have the assurance that the truth dwells (current situation) in us. Now consider the promise that this truth will be with us forever! The truth will never depart from the church, her children, and those called by God to serve her. Never doubt that the grace of God is sufficient to preserve His church in the earth and this treasure that we have in earthen vessels.
May we always salute the church with a prayer for grace, mercy, and peace from God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ in truth and love!