A Good Testimony
3 John 12, "Demetrius has received a good testimony from everyone, and from the truth itself."
The first half of this verse is nice; it swings along like a humming child's bright lunch pail: "Demetrius has received a good testimony from everyone..." Well, that's great! Good for Demetrius!
But the second half of this verse is...what is it? "Demetrius has received a good testimony... from the truth itself."
In the first half, the good testimony comes from everyone. For example, "Demetrius is a great guy! He really did a good job. I'm so thankful for Demetrius." In the second half of the verse, the testimony comes from "the truth itself." What is "the truth itself"? What is it saying?
"The truth" in this short letter is a truth that you "walk in" (3, 4) and "work for" (8). In the context of the New Testament, we know that these ideas describe the truth about Jesus: who He is, what He's done, and what that means. It's the Gospel.
The Gospel "itself" has a testimony, something to say, about Demetrius. What does it say?
What do you fear "the truth itself" would say about you? "Not quite good enough." "Doesn't give enough." "Poor reader." "Socially awkward." "Gross sin struggles." "Smiles but doesn't mean it." "Pouts and is needy." "Talks too much." "Is strangely quiet." "Never can make a decision." "Too pushy."
Is that what it would say? Is that what Jesus thinks? NO.
What does the truth say about you? Here's a hint: it's a "good testimony." The truth is not like "everyone." The Gospel-Truth does not wait around assessing your works. Rather, it is a plain statement about Jesus' works and what they mean for you.
Here's what the Gospel-Truth Itself says about you: "Completely, 100%, fully, totally, eternally, forgiven." "A child of God." "Beloved." "Special." "Beautiful." "Exactly right." "Ready to go!" "Pure, clean, holy, and righteous." "Delightful!" "Mine!"
What is the "good testimony...from the truth itself" that you need to hear, today? The Spirit works to help us better understand "what has been freely given to us by God." (1 Cor 2:12) So, what is the Spirit working to help you hear and see? What do you need to hear, today, from the mouth of the Gospel of Jesus, that will set you free? Fill you with courage? Strengthen your resolve? Bring you to repentance?
The most important testimony about each of us is not "from everyone," as helpful and encouraging as that can be. But the most important testimony about you is the one that "the truth itself" speaks and speaks and speaks and speaks and speaks.