2Jn 1:4-6 “I rejoiced greatly that I found of thy children walking in truth, as we have received a commandment from the Father. And now I beseech thee, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment unto thee, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another. And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it.”
The word “rejoice” appears a total of 45 times in the New Testament. There are six different Greek words translated as “rejoice.” Often when we hear or see the word “rejoice,” we think of exuberance as in jumping for joy. The Greek word that is defined as “jump for joy” appears only 4 times; 4 times the Greek word is defined as “to vaunt” and 1 time as “to boast.” There are 5 times that the word “rejoice” is coupled with the word “with,” and the Greek definition here is “sympathize with joy; congratulate.” The definition given to another of the Greek words is “be in a good frame of mind,” and it appears 5 times. The remaining Greek word translated as “rejoice” means to be “calmly happy,” and it occurs 26 times. This is the word that appears here in verse 4.
John says that he was extremely (greatly) calmly happy. Sometimes we may grow discouraged that we are not always jumping for joy in the presence of the God’s people. We all enjoy those times when our rejoicing is such that we can hardly contain ourselves; when His presence is so rich we feel like we could simply step out of this mortal world. How often do we consider the great blessing of being “calmly happy” or “in a good frame of mind” in the Lord? Of the 45 times “rejoice” appears in the New Testament, this is the meaning 36 times. I take that to indicate that it is a great blessing and very important to have the contentment that I see implied in being calmly happy.
John found this calm happiness when he perceived (found) the children of the chosen (favored) lady walking in the truth. The Greek word translated as “walking” means “to tread all around, that is, walk at large (especially as proof of ability); figuratively to live, deport oneself, follow (as a companion or votary).” The children of the elect lady were demonstrating the proof of God’s truth by the manner in which they lived. They demonstrated this everywhere (tread all around), not just when they were in church. This was a commandment (injunction) that we have laid hold on (received) from the Father.
An injunction, as defined by Webster’s Dictionary of American English (1865), means in this instance “the direction of a superior vested with authority.” The thought here is that we have not only been given direction from the Supreme Authority, but we have taken it unto ourselves as precious truth. It is guiding our lives and brings a calm happiness to God’s servants that find us walking in this manner. Then, as was the theme of his first letter, John admonishes us to love one another.
He emphasizes again that this is not something new. This is the commandment that we received from God in our hearts when we understood our condition as sinners and Christ’s position as our Savior. In my own experience, the thing that moved me from my pew to the front of the church to ask for a home was not precisely the singing or the preaching, although these had certainly touched me. The thing that moved me was the overwhelming love that I felt from the Almighty God of heaven and earth that was shed abroad in the hearts of His people by the power of the Holy Spirit. It was a commandment that my heart heard and laid hold on.
I love those times when the Spirit visits so strongly that the joy is overwhelming. It is wonderful to stand before the Lord’s people to declare His precious name and see the power of the Holy Spirit move in the congregation; to see the tears and the smiles and hear the “Amens” from the lips of His children as they listen to His word. As I grow older, I find that my greatest joy comes from that good frame of mind that sees Him at work in His people on a daily basis. The great blessing of a calm happiness (a godly contentment) in seeing His children walk in the truth and know that He has made me a partaker of the same is truly joy unspeakable. It is this calm happiness that Paul was admonishing the Philippians in when he told them to “Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. (Php 4:4).”
May we never overlook the calm happiness of walking in the truth with His children or consider it less than those occasions we are made to jump for joy!