Tuesday, 14 July 2020
Demetrius has a good testimony from all, and from the truth itself. And we also bear witness, and you know that our testimony is true. 3 John -12
John has just finished speaking about the corrupt character of Diotrephes. Now, he contrasts that to Demetrius. Nothing more is known about either of these men than is given right here in 3 John. The name Demetrius comes from Démétér, a pagan goddess of agriculture. There is another Demitrius mentioned in Acts 19:24 and 19:38, but that is unlikely the same individual now being referred to.
Of this person, John says, “Demetrius has a good testimony.” It is in the perfect tense. The witness concerning Demetrius has been given, and that same witness continues on until now. He is a good guy. This witness, John says, is “from all.” It is universally recognized that Demetrius is a man of good character.
It is speculated that Demetrius is the one who is bearing the letter to Gaius. Thus, John is including his name now so that Gaius is aware of this and will then be fully confident in him. A second option is that Demetrius was a member of the church which Diotrephes was in, and John is now contrasting the two men, showing that there is still a good element who can be trusted and relied upon.
Either way, after the sad state of affairs has arisen concerning Diotrephes, John probably wants Gaius to be able to know he can fully trust in Demetrius. With that in mind, he continues with, “and from the truth itself.”
The words indicate the strongest confidence in Demetrius. To have a good testimony from all people is not always an indicator that a person is truly an upright soul. Jesus said as much to the disciples in Luke 6 –
“Woe to you when all men speak well of you,
For so did their fathers to the false prophets.” Luke 6:26
John would certainly have remembered these words and felt it necessary to confirm that not only was Demetrius recognized by man as an upright soul, but that he was so in accord with the recognized truth of God. Thus, he could be described using Paul’s words of Romans 2 where he said, “whose praise is not from men but from God” (Romans 2:29).
All men can praise a person, but unless that person’s testimony is in accord with the truth itself, it really doesn’t matter. With this positive note concerning Demetrius, John finishes the thought with, “And we also bear witness, and you know that our testimony is true.”
John here speaks of himself, and of those with him, as sufficient witnesses to the character of Demetrius, and of the truth itself, so that Gaius should have absolutely no qualms about trusting in him and putting his confidence in him. The words of John here would bring to Gaius’ memory what John had written in the gospel which bears his name –
“And he who has seen has testified, and his testimony is true; and he knows that he is telling the truth, so that you may believe.” John 19:35
“This is the disciple who testifies of these things, and wrote these things; and we know that his testimony is true.” John 21:24
By stating what he has now, and in the manner in which he has stated it, John is saying that just as truthful as the witness of the gospel record itself is, the witness by him and his associates concerning Demetrius equally truthful.
Life application: Diotrephes of the previous verses is “evil” and is not to be imitated; Demetrius is “good” and is worthy of imitation. In fact, John points out three ways in which Demetrius makes this true –
1) He has a good personal testimony from everyone who comes in contact with him.
2) The truth itself (the constant theme of John’s writings) testifies to his conduct and character.
3) John and those he is associated with bear witness to Demetrius’ character.
John uses the perfect tense for the first two instances. This means that the action is complete. It points to everything in the past associated with those statements, even into the future. In the third instance, John’s testimony is valid because Gaius himself bears witness to it.
The question for each of us based on this verse then is, “How do I measure up against such witness and testimony?”
Lord, may our conduct and Christian witness be of such a high caliber that we will be approved by those who come in contact with us. May we be on the side of truth at all times, and may those who know us personally speak well of us. By meeting these tests, we know that we will also bring glory to You. May it be so. Amen.