A True Friend

Jerry Sittser

READ : 3 John

The elder to the beloved Gaius, whom I love in truth. (v. 1)

There are many privileges that come with age. Surely one of them is deep friendship. Younger ages enjoy friendship, of course; but their friendships have little history and stability to them. Age allows friendship to mature. It is not uncommon for people who are fifty or older to have friendships that go back over thirty years and reflect a deep bond of loyalty and affection.

This short letter does not carry the weight of books like the Gospel of Matthew or the Epistle to the Romans. Yet it is still valuable, for it reminds us of the importance of Christian friendship. John wrote this letter to a friend, Gaius. He wishes Gaius well as only a close friend can do. He affirms his faithfulness to the gospel and thanks him for showing hospitality to strangers. He keeps the letter short because he would rather communicate with Gaius face to face.

Amazingly, Jesus calls us his friends. He says that true friends are willing to lay down their lives for each other, as he did for us. John and Gaius had that kind of friendship. Both of them loved Jesus above all; that enabled them to love each other.


God, thank you for the gift of friendship. Help us to become the kind of friend that Jesus was, willing to lay down our lives for others. Amen.