I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not. (3John 1:9)
There was a beautiful, young-but-grown red and black rooster that had a commanding voice. Every morning he flapped his wings and positioned himself on the post of the barnyard gate.
When he was sure that all eyes were on him, he reared back and crowed about the time the sun peaked above the trees around the barnyard. Not once, but several times he crowed until he commanded the attention of all the animals and even Farmer Brown who usually came out the back door to milk the cow about the time the rooster crowed, and the sun was coming up.
This went on for months until one day the rooster had a brilliant thought…he was the cause of the sun coming up! It changed his personality and he began to boss the other animals around and even attacked the farmer’s wife with his spurs one Saturday morning when she came in the barnyard to feed the chickens. On Sunday, the family invited the pastor and his family to have Sunday dinner with them. Everyone was delighted with the extra-large bowl of rooster-and-dumplings.
Our verse for today was written by 90-year-old John, the only surviving disciple of Jesus. He wrote his last little book about the end of the first century. Titus in A.D. 70 had destroyed Jerusalem. The Temple was destroyed along with the Jewish priesthood. A million Jews had been slaughtered in Jerusalem who had come to town for the Passover Feast. So, the destruction of Jerusalem was at least 20 years behind them
To backtrack further, forty years before the destruction of Jerusalem, Jesus had been crucified, rose from the dead, commissioned the disciples, and returned to Heaven to await the restitution of things necessary for His return to earth (Acts 3:21). One day His disciples got into a spirited discussion about which of them was going to be the greatest in the kingdom. And he came to Capernaum: and being in the house he asked them, What was it that ye disputed among yourselves by the way? But they held their peace: for by the way they had disputed among themselves, who should be the greatest. (Mark 9:33-34)
They thought following Jesus was about an immediate kingdom much like King David had, and running the Romans out of town. But, they soon learned there was not going to be an immediate kingdom. God the Father knew when that would take place but even the angels in Heaven did not know. That’s a brief background of this last letter of John’s.
The letter is to Gaius, an outstanding servant of the Lord and refers to himself as the “Elder.” This was his signature name for himself. He wrote just 14 verses, saying that he had more to say but he would see him soon. He had great respect and love for Gaius and mentioned that Gaius supported various men who traveled in ministry. Having said that, he mentioned a letter he had sent to the church and in the same sentence mentions that Diotrephes would not receive him. Who is this peanut who was a leader of some kind in the church but did not, would not listen to anything old John had to say ──Old John who was known to lean on Jesus when the disciples ate with Him and the one “whom Jesus loved?”
We have a problem here! It’s the same old problem some of the disciples had when they wanted to be the greatest in Christ’s kingdom. Diotrephes knew Jerusalem had been destroyed along with the Temple and the priesthood. Diotrephes loved to have the preeminence. He loved to be the center of attention at the church. He was a big shot and he didn’t want to give it up even to the Elder 90-year-old John who had something to say worth hearing.
Do we have that problem today? I’m afraid some servants of the Lord love to hear their own voices or like to show off their musical talents. Nobody knows about this but the Lord, unless it’s so strong it’s obvious. “Look at me! Admire me!” What a temptation that can be today. The opposite of that is a determination to bring glory to God and to honor Him. In that case it will be all right to listen to somebody else preach or sing without feeling slighted.
When I was one of the leaders of a Christian school organization in North Carolina, one of the pastors who attended our meetings in Raleigh, NC drove all the way from Sylvia, NC not far from Asheville. One day the news came that the pastor and his wife and been gunned down in their own front yard. The sheriff found them lying close together in the frost and their little four-year-old daughter crying and shivering and pleading with her mother: “Wake up Mommy! Wake up Mommy!
A deacon in the church and assistant to the pastor was jealous of the attention the pastor was getting from the congregation as its leader. He wanted that recognition for himself. His envy of the pastor grew until he murdered the pastor and his wife.
Jesus said: Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. (Matthew 6:1-2)
WORTH REMEMBERING: Jesus Believed that God Made Male and Female from the Beginning of Creation. (Mark 10:6)
Read Through the Bible in a Year
OCTOBER 30, 2017 – MONDAY
A.M. Jeremiah 27-28 P.M. 2 Tim. 4
(Bible Gateway will read this to you if you like. Look for the speaker icon.)
Good Verse to Memorize:
For whatsoever is not of faith is sin. Romans 14:23b
Song for Today:
To God Be the Glory (3:25) (Royal Albert Hall – London)
You may have to adjust the volume or delete an ad.