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Monday, June 20, 2011

Above A Servant

In verse 16 of the Book of Philemon, Paul reasons with him, “Not now as a servant, but above a servant, a brother beloved, specially to me, but how much more unto thee, both in the flesh, and in the Lord.”  Paul beseeches Philemon to receive Onesimus as he would himself.  Paul again typifies Christ’s sacrifice as he offers to repay whatever Onesimus has taken.  Paul’s superb debate skills that he learned at the finest schools of the Pharisees, at the feet of Gamaliel, are showcased as he appeals to Philemon to recall that his own eternal life is owed to the ministry of Paul.
Paul expresses his confidence in Philemon’s favorable reply to this epistle.  Archaic legend asserts that Onesimus became the Bishop of Berea.  We can surmise that Philemon honored Paul’s request by Colosssians 4:7-10 as it says, "All my state shall Tychicus declare unto you, who is a beloved brother, and a faithful minister and fellowservant in the Lord:  Whom I have sent unto you for the same purpose, that he might know your estate, and comfort your hearts;  With Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you.  They shall make known unto you all things which are done here.  Aristarchus my fellowprisoner saluteth you, and Marcus, sister’s son to Barnabus. . .”
Paul expresses his faith in his own release in verse 22, as he asks Philemon to prepare a room for him when he is able to come.  Paul then mentions the prayer giant Epaphras, whose name means, “charming.”  Marcus, meaning “large hammer” is also spoken of by the apostle.  Paul then speaks of Aristarchus, a fellow prisoner and a Macedonian of Thessalonica, whose name means, “best ruler.”  Demas is spoken of by Paul, his name means “popular ruler of the people.” Finally, Paul mentions Lucas, his name means “light giving or luminous.”
Paul delivers his characteristic benediction to end this short book, “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, Amen” (Philemon 25).  Paul of Tarsus, formerly Saul the Persecutor, a Jewish Pharisee, and freeborn citizen of Rome, gave his life for the cause of Jesus Christ.  The name Paul means, “small” but this great leader and apostle of the early Church was anything but diminutive.  Through the inspired books and epistles that the apostle penned, we are able to glimpse the torrid experience of the first century Church and the sacrifices that they gladly suffered for Christ.  As Christians, we owe this legacy to love to these brave men and women who lived and died for the Truth.  Legend holds that under the order of Porcius Festus, Paul was led out to the Appian Way and was beheaded there.     

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