This is also a brief letter of Apostle John. There is no compelling reason to doubt the traditional view that apostle John wrote this letter. It was addressed to John’s dear friend Gaius to encourage him in his walk with the Lord. He was a hospitable and a spiritual leader in the church. On the other hand Diotrephes was self-seeking leader who sought
dominance over other elders. Also Diotrephes was refusing to support faithful servants of God. John encourages Gaius to be hospitable to God’s servants who are faithful. Demetrius was a respected servant of God whom Diotrephes opposed. The loyalty to the truth and good testimony among believers are the test for supporting in any ministry.
John identifies himself as the elder in this letter. John addresses this letter to his well beloved brother Gaius. He was a faithful believer and a leader in the church. Love is the common bond that binds believers together. John gives the importance of truth in the letter. He prays for the well being of his friend Gaius, knowing that his physical condition can affect spiritual health. John also rejoices over the report that Gaius is doing well spiritually and helping travelling missionaries. John had no greater joy than hearing that Christians are walking in the truth. The word "truth" appears four times in the first four verses of this letter. This highlights the importance of sound teaching in the church. Christians have the responsibility to live according to the the truth. There is no greater joy than to hear that churches are faithfully preserving the truth. There is no conflict between truth and grace. Jesus himself became the embodiment of grace and truth (John 1: 14). When we embrace the truth and earnestly love others, we follow in the footsteps of Christ.
Example of Gaius; 1:5-8.
Gaius had shown hospitality to travelling evangelists and strangers. Christians are strangers in this world. Welcoming others in Christ's name is same as welcoming Christ (Matt 25:40). An elder must be hospitable (1 Tim 3:2; Heb 13:2). John applauds the church and Gaius for supporting the faithful gospel ministers. They have gone out for the sake of the gospel, looking to the Lord for their support. They refused to receive any support from unbelievers. It is a privilege and responsibility of believers to support God’s servants. By doing this they become fellow workers in the ministry. We should support Christian ministries and pray for the servants of God. Gospel ministry is a team work.
Beware of Diotrephes: 1-9-14.
Diotrephes may have refused to accept the authority of apostle John on the pretext of autonomy of local church (Vs 9). Gaius and Diotrephes were evidently leaders in the same church. Diotrephes wanted to have preeminence in the church. He also refused to welcome servants of the gospel on the pretext of contending for the truth. It caused great harm to the testimony of the gospel and the growth of the church. He loved himself more than anyone else. Diotrephes looked at the missionary work with contempt and excommunicated those who have supported it. Christians must be beware of such proud individuals. Gaius was encouraged to follow the good examples of Christ and apostles. Demetrius was proved to be a faithful brother. He had good testimony among believers. Anyone who encourages Diotrephes like- leadership becomes partner in their evil works. Pride is extremely dangerous and harmful to the work of God. But God's grace can change prideful hearts and use them for his glory (Acts 9). Pray for a humble heart that pleases God.
John had many things to write to Gaius but he desires to speak to him face to face soon. John ends his letter by greeting friends and wishing them peace. May God help us to follow the good of Gaius and Demetrius.