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- 3 John
by Daniel Whedon
FROM the epistle itself it would appear that our apostle had sent forth from Ephesus a number of missionaries, who bore from him a letter addressed to the Church, probably of Pergamos, recommending them to reception and aid in their farther mission. They were rejected by one of the pastors of Pergamos namely, Diotrephes but were entertained and liberally forwarded by a prosperous and pious layman, Gaius. The missionaries on their return made a public report, narrating the health, prosperity, piety, and great and loyal liberality of Gaius. On their going forth a second time St. John sends by them this letter of thanks and counsel from the apostle.
The epistle suggests a significant picture of St. John’s residence at Ephesus; his sending forth his missionaries aided by contributions of the Church; the general loyalty these evangelists found, varied by an occasional opponent, who repudiates the apostle, rejects his ministers, and excommunicates from his Church the adherents to the apostolic faith. To this Church, as well as to the Church to which the Kyria of the Second Epistle belonged, John expects soon to pay a visit; and in this epistle he promises at that visit to make an exhibition of his apostolic authority; so that it is to be an official visitation. The whole letter corresponds to the historic picture of John’s residence and engagements in Ephesus after his return from Patmos.
the Week of Proper 19 / Ordinary 24