I can’t think of a more consistently gratifying feeling than carrying a good reputation. To hear encouragement from a brother or sister is truly a blessing. Moreso, to be well spoken of by others when you’re not around is an even greater gift. A good name is not easily earned. Honor is a messy, complicated road to walk down. We can learn a lot about holding notoriety from the Apostle John’s letter to his friend and accomplice, Gaius. John has many things to say of the reputations of some prominent church-goers in Asia Minor, some great, and others not so much. Take the character of Diotrephes for example, a name of disrepute. He was known to be a troublesome, unwelcoming person of influence within the church, withholding the apostles from coming to his church and “[putting] himself first”. (3 John 1:9) However, read what John had to say of Demetrius in contrast.

“Demetrius has received a good testimony from everyone, and from the truth itself[…]” 3 John 1:12 ESV

Not only does the Apostle John point out that Demetrius receives high praise from everyone around him, but John makes a deeper claim that even the Truth speaks better of him. We know Jesus Christ to be the Way, the Truth, and the Life. This same Truth speaks a better word over us. His work, His sacrifice speaks well of us, as we read in Hebrews 12.

“[…] to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel[…]” Hebrews 12:24 ESV

The blood of Abel cries out for justice and punishment, while Christ cries for peace and grace. One demands restitution, the other pours out mercy. Jesus’s work testifies before God on our behalf, clothing us in the righteous life He lived. He is our mediator and mighty Savior. And now in God’s eyes, we inherit Jesus’s reputation. He is the first of many to be made in the likeness of His image. He took on our disgrace, and we took on his faultless image. This is what the Truth testifies of us; a better word.

Demetrius is not the only one whom the Truth speaks well of. By the grace extended to us beyond the borders of the chosen nation Israel, we receive a better name, an infinitely greater reputation in Christ than we would have on our own. How sweet it is to have a reputation that does not fade or perish, one that was earned for us, and that cannot be taken away. How great it is that in the courts of heaven, our Messiah speaks a better word of us when we’re not around. Amen.

Jared Benjamin Graf

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