In the third epistle of John we learn of three men. He writes to one of them and refers to the other two, one in negative terms and the other in positive. What can we learn from these three men named Gaius, Diotrephes and Demetrius?
We first learn that Gaius is beloved by John. He is also doing well spiritually, so much so that John tells him he wants the same well being in all areas of life including his physical health. The things John hears about Gaius from other brethren encourages him. He is the type of guy who sticks at it through thick and thin whether it is for the brethren or for strangers. “If you send these travelling missionaries on their journey in a God honoring manner, you are doing well,” he writes.
Next we hear of a man named Diotrephes, who does not hold a glowing report from John. We read that he is a man who likes to be better than everyone else so much so that he didn’t receive John’s authority or his suggestions. He was one of the twelve disciples! He even went so far as to put out of the church any who wished to receive the travelling missionaries. “If I come,” John writes, “I will call to mind his deeds.” He continues by referring to his prating malicious words and goes so far as to say, “He who does evil has not seen God.” He is a lesson for what not to do. “Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good.”
The third man is Demetrius. The report John received of him was positive. “He has a good testimony from all and from the truth itself,” John writes. He, also is a witness to this man’s faithful testimony. What can we learn from these three men named Gaius, Diotrephes and Demetrius. John writes, “He who does good is of God.”