Friday, September 5, 2008

Colossians 4:10-13

Day 23

Aristarchus, my fellow prisoner, sends you his greetings; and also Barnabas’s cousin Mark (about whom you received instructions; if he comes to you, welcome him); and also Jesus who is called Justus; there are the only fellow workers for the kingdom of God who are from the circumcision, and they have proved to be an encouragement to me. Epaphras, who is one of your number, a bond slave of Jesus Christ, sends you his greetings, always laboring earnestly for you in his prayers, that you may stand perfect and fully assured in all the will of God. For I testify for him that he has a deep concern for you and for those who are in Laodicea and Hierapolis.

Paul continues in his personal greetings, which is typical at the end of each of his letters. Some additional things we know about men mentioned here:

Aristarchus is mentioned several times in Acts (19:29, 20:4, 27:2). In Ephesus, Aristarchus was dragged into the theater during a riot which took place in reaction to a silversmith named Demetrius’ tirade. He was worried that so many people were becoming followers of Christ that the silver gods he and others made would no longer be purchased. The group he riled up stormed the city and dragged Aristarchus and Gaius into the theater. The cooler head of a town clerk prevailed and the men’s lives were spared. Aristarchus also traveled with Paul from Macedonia. He was originally from Thessalonica and went with Paul to Rome after his arrest. Paul identifies him as a Jew in this passage.

It is interesting to see that Mark had once again been by Paul’s side. In Acts 15:29, there is a dispute about Mark between Barnabas and Paul. Apparently on the first missionary trip, Mark deserted Paul and Barnabas in Pamphylia. Now planning their second trip, Barnabas wanted to take Mark along (who was Barnabas’s cousin). The feelings about this were so intense, Paul and Barnabas split up and went their separate ways. Paul went with Silas, and Barnabas and Mark sailed off to Cyprus. Yet we know the problem between them was eventually resolved, because in 2 Timothy 4:11, Paul writes of his desire for Mark to come to him. This is not surprising, in view of the intensity with which each of the men viewed their purpose in service-- to see Christ preached.

Epaphras was mentioned at the beginning of this letter as the one who brought news of the church at Colossae to Paul (1:7-8). He is mentioned again in another prison epistle, Philippians 1:23. Epaphras was originally from Colossae, and spend time in Philippi as well. His goal for the Colossians: that they may stand perfect (complete) and fully assured in all the will of God. He was apparently a gentile.

As Christians, we often dispute about doctrine or even less important things. Paul’s bond with each of these men is rooted in their relationship with Jesus Christ and their common goal to see Him preached. How often we let pride or a sense of self-worth interfere with the unity of the body! Paul was a man with strong opinions and a natural leader. Yet even he was able to put his own feelings aside and have unity with those he at times disagreed. Are there people in your church that make you mad? Think back over your relationship and plan for ways to show them love as Paul was able to do with his fellow workers.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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