3 John


3 John 1:9

I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to be first, will not welcome us. 

Observation – What does it say?

John, an elder who oversaw a network of house churches, most likely in the area of Ephesus, writes this 3rd letter to a member of one of these house churches, Gaius. This John is most likely the same John who was a disciple of Jesus and authored the gospel of John. His purpose in writing is to encourage Gaius to welcome legitimate missionaries who come to visit his specific house church. The reason why this was necessary was because the leader of his house church, Diotrephes, was essentially being a jerk. He was refusing them even though they were fellow believers and going so far as to put people out of the church who showed them any hospitality.

Understanding – What does it mean?

Diotrephes wasn’t motivated by love, but by pride. John said he “loves to be first.”

Pride leads to sin. It was what caused Satan’s downfall; causes God to keep his distance from us; causes us to build walls between us and others, even if they are our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Rather than competing against Satan for souls, Diotrephes found himself competing against and rejecting the believers who weren’t a part of his local church.

Pride is the enemy of love.

Love is others centered, pride is me centered. They cannot coexist. If we are prideful, as soon as we find someone who is better than us, or liked more than us or esteemed higher than us, that person immediately becomes our enemy. And, if we are going to win the world to Christ, we cannot be making enemies of other human beings! As Graham Cooke said when someone came and verbally attacked him professing to be his enemy, “You’re not my enemy. I only have room for one enemy and it isn’t you. That enemy is Satan and I hate him with every fiber of my being. But you… I love you.” 

Life Application

Humble myself and put others first!

God, I recognize at times in myself this love for being first. I love to be recognized, appreciated, and to be the best at whatever I put my hand to. Forgive me for making it about me. Jesus, you were always for others and never for yourself. Make me, and all of us, more like you! In Jesus’ name, amen.

– Levi Thompson


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