John describes himself as the “elder” – This makes sense. At this point he’s likely the only apostle still alive. For some reason I have in my head that he is pretty heavy at this point and wears a black cloak but that isn’t supported by any historical record. It’s kind of a cross between the man in the painting who prays with the Bible and the bread and a monk.
Gauis is likely a close friend. Sometimes we’re concerned that praying for “shallow” things like good health and soul wellness is bad because we could be praying for ways to die for Jesus or go broke. I’m not against the latter half, but John seems to think it’s not an issue to pray for the former. So, you know, don’t beat yourself up about it, it’s cool to pray for good health. I do like the thought of praying that someone’s soul might be well, we should probably do that more.
“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in truth.” I hear that, brother. Gaius seems to be up to good things, training fellas up for the work of the good news, spreading it to the Gentiles. When he says that they accept nothing from the Gentiles, it’s not a bad thing, he’s basically saying that the church is providing for them so they don’t ask for anything from those they are trying to serve. Further, John encourages that Jesus people should support fellow workers that are up to such things.
Sounds like Diotrephes is a trouble maker, a selfish dude who does what he wants, talks badly about others, and is an inhospitable jackanapes to travelling Jesus fellas. Worse still, he tries to chuck hospitable folks who want to help the travelling bros out of the church. No wonder John wants to reckon with him. It’s interesting that this guy even retains any authority at all. John has more patience for him at this point than I do.
That said, he reminds them to not imitate evil but good and we hear echoes of his first two letters in “Whoever does good is from God…” In light of which, Demetrius seems to be doing a good job and everyone is saying so. (Hey man, are we telling folks they are doing good work? Encouraging them? Let’s do better at that.)
Finally, John still wants face to face time, better than a letter. He ends with some simple commands: Have peace, accept the greetings from all your friends, and greet them back, all of them. Seems easy enough.
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