3Jn 1:12-14 “Demetrius hath good report of all men, and of the truth itself: yea, and we also bear record; and ye know that our record is true. I had many things to write, but I will not with ink and pen write unto thee: But I trust I shall shortly see thee, and we shall speak face to face. Peace be to thee. Our friends salute thee. Greet the friends by name.”
John, in writing to his friend Gaius, demonstrated to him an intimate knowledge of other individuals in the church. As servants of God and His people, we should rejoice when we are blessed to draw close enough to those we serve that we have a close relationship with them. We should cherish every one of God’s children, both those that may vex us like Diotrephes and those that have a good report like Demetrius.
John’s love for God’s children is apparent in all his epistles. It was not a lack of love that moved John to say he would remember Diotrephes’ deeds. The Greek word translated as “remember” carries the idea “to remind quietly.” He wasn’t telling Gaius that he was coming to give Diotrephes a raking over the coals. Instead, he was assuring Gaius that he loved Diotrephes so much that he was going to labor with him concerning his error before God.
John also wanted Gaius to know that there were good reports being heard. Demetrius has a good report from every quarter, which is borne out by the truth itself. He is a faithful witness of the things of God and does so with honesty and integrity. Again, John demonstrates that he also has special knowledge of Demetrius’ faithfulness. John is involved with the people that he serves on a very personal level; he is a friend to those he serves.
It seems this closeness between the servants of the church and the members of the body is often missing today. The only time the congregation sees the pastor is on Sunday, and too often the congregation is perfectly happy with this arrangement. As a church collectively and as individual members, when we seek a servant we should ask God for guidance. We should pray for Him to send someone like John, whose love for God’s people is deep and real. We should recognize that we are asking God to send us someone we can trust to be involved with us, to be a friend, to be a buffer, and to tell us the truth.
We need to hear the sweet truth of God’s love for us and His grace toward us. We also need to hear the hard truth that sometimes we get a Diotrephes complex that hurts those around us. As servants, it is our job to deal with the whole truth in love, compassion, and understanding; never losing sight of the fact that these whom we serve are the beloved of God. We need to walk closely together so that we not only encourage one another to hear the gospel, but we also encourage each other to live the gospel.
It was this desire, I believe, that prompted John to say “Gaius, I had a lot that I wanted to write to you about. But now that I’m into this, it is better that I come and see your face.” The word translated as “salute” and the word translated as “greet” in the closing statements come from the same Greek word which means “to enfold in the arms.” He wishes Gaius peace, and tells him that their friends hold him close in their hearts. He tells Gaius to tell the friends there with him that they are also held close; hugs all around!
May God draw us into each other’s arms as He draws us into His, and may we serve Him and one another in the strength of that love!