21.
Sacrificial Love for Those Faithful to the Truth

(3 John 1-8)

The elder to the beloved Gaius, whom I love in truth. Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers. For I was very glad when brethren came and testified to your truth, that is, how you are walking in truth. I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth. Beloved, you are acting faithfully in whatever you accomplish for the brethren, and especially when they are strangers; and they have testified to your love before the church. You will do well to send them on their way in a manner worthy of God. For they went out for the sake of the Name, accepting nothing from the Gentiles. Therefore we ought to support such men, so that we may be fellow workers with the truth. (1-8)

Truth is the theme of this letter, especially in the opening section where the word appears five times. It is a call to give hospitality, but especially to those who were faithful teachers of the gospel truth (cf. 2 John 10-11).

When the apostle Paul detailed his suffering for the cause of Christ (2 Cor. 11:22-33), some of that suffering involved travel far different from the comfort and safety of modern travel. But the apostle's experience reflected the common reality of life in the ancient world: "I have been on frequent journeys," he wrote, "in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea" (v. 26)... "three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep" (v. 25). As that list indicates, travel was arduous, unpleasant, and even dangerous. The few inns that existed (cf. Luke 2:7; 10:34) were often little more than vermin-infested brothels and their keepers dishonest and of ill repute. As a result, travelers seeking safety were largely dependent on people opening their homes to them.