Monday, 5 June 2017
…with Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They will make known to you all things which are happening here. Colossians 4:9
Onesimus is the runaway slave for whom Paul makes a passionate appeal in the book of Philemon. Here, he is called “the faithful and beloved brother.” There is a definite article in front of faithful, and so it says “the” not “a.” Paul is carefully highlighting the high status of Philemon, who was once a slave on the run. He then says, “who is one of you.” This is more than probably a reference to his being from Colossae.
In the words selected, and with the emphasis on “faithful and beloved,” Paul is showing that this former slave is on an equal level with them in Christ, and that they should acknowledge him as such. Paul’s true love and concern for Onesimus is seen in this short verse, but it will literally pour out of him in his letter to Philemon. He had become a believer in Christ under Paul, and it was Paul’s highest desire for him to be treated as a fellow brother in Christ because of this.
Together with Tychicus, these two men would “make known to you all things which are happening to me.” These words signify everything that was of note concerning Paul and his interactions with the church there in Rome. The letter was for guidance, exhortation, and knowledge, being a prescriptive writing for those at Colossae (and eventually as an epistle for the entire church). On the other hand, the things that would be conveyed by these men would consist of matters not necessary for doctrine and teaching.
Life application: The person at church who works as a garbage man all week is to be considered as being on the same level as the millionaire who runs a large company, or the congressman who attends when he is in town. It is really not appropriate to exalt others over one another because of their position in life. Instead, those who are faithful to the word, who are productive in the church, and who give themselves for Christ are the truly exalted ones among their brethren.
Most gracious heavenly Father, You have determined that Your church is not built on worldly status, position, or wealth, but on a faithfulness to Your Son, and on a faithful devotion to Your word. Those who are productive in these ways are the truly exalted ones in the congregation, and they should be acknowledged as such. Help us not to fawn over the temporary, fading things of this world, but to exalt those things which are eternal. To Your glory we pray. Amen.