Letter to believers in the first century
From John, the apostle
The elder John writes this third letter specifically to a dear friend of his named Gaius. John wants to commend Gaius for his outstanding Christian lifestyle, so John sends this uplifting personal word to Gaius and his community.
What most impresses John about Gaius is how this church leader regularly opens up his home to house, feed, and encourage traveling ministers. At this time, many prophets, missionaries, and teachers travel from place to place to serve new congregations.
Given the Christian perspective on love, it is appropriate for them to rely on the generosity of their fellow believers. While John’s second letter stresses the importance of refusing hospitality to false teachers, John’s third emphasizes the importance of showing hospitality to true ones.
Reflecting the goodness of GOD
John contrasts the hospitable behavior of Gaius with the selfish behavior of a man named Diotrephes. Diotrephes is a controlling leader within the church who refuses to welcome ministers into his home and forces out any members of the church who are caught helping them.
John urges Gaius to avoid being influenced by the bad example of Diotrephes. He explains that welcoming ministers into believers’ homes is about more than just hospitality—it is about reflecting the goodness of God.
Serving GOD and fellow believers
John closes his letter by praising another man named Demetrius; it is likely that he carries the letter to Gaius from the elder. John assures Gaius that unlike Diotrephes, Demetrius is a man of truth who may be trusted.
Just like John’s two previous letters, this letter focuses on living the truth found in Jesus by serving others in love. We don’t have to travel full-time to spread the message of Jesus. Being generous with our time, money, and energy from our very own homes is a powerful way to serve God and fellow believers.