devotion 10-20-15

Colossians 4.7-18

7 Tychicus will tell you all the news about me; he is a beloved brother, a faithful minister, and a fellow-servant* in the Lord. 8I have sent him to you for this very purpose, so that you may know how we are* and that he may encourage your hearts; 9he is coming with Onesimus, the faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They will tell you about everything here.

10 Aristarchus my fellow-prisoner greets you, as does Mark the cousin of Barnabas, concerning whom you have received instructions—if he comes to you, welcome him. 11And Jesus who is called Justus greets you. These are the only ones of the circumcision among my co-workers for the kingdom of God, and they have been a comfort to me. 12Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant* of Christ Jesus, greets you. He is always wrestling in his prayers on your behalf, so that you may stand mature and fully assured in everything that God wills. 13For I testify for him that he has worked hard for you and for those in Laodicea and in Hierapolis. 14Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas greet you. 15Give my greetings to the brothers and sisters* in Laodicea, and to Nympha and the church in her house. 16And when this letter has been read among you, have it read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and see that you read also the letter from Laodicea. 17And say to Archippus, ‘See that you complete the task that you have received in the Lord.’

18 I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. Remember my chains. Grace be with you.*

Paul often closes a letter with personal references, and this is true in this letter. He is sending the letter by Tychicus, and relies on him to relay additional news about Paul and those with him. He praises Tychicus, as a beloved brother, faithful minister, and fellow-servant of Christ. What more could any of us ask to be said? In fact, he is sending Tychicus intentionally so that he might encourage them and let them know the news of Paul. He is also sending Onesimus – we will look next at the short letter to Philemon which is about Onesimus – but notice here, Paul refers to Onesimus as a faithful and beloved brother, one of them, and not as a slave.

Paul sends greetings from his fellow prisoner, Aristarchus, and from Mark, the cousin of Barnabas. Notice, the disagreement he had with Barnabas and with his young cousin Mark has long since been resolved; Mark is now one of Paul’s trusted friends. He tells the Colossians to welcome Mark if he comes to them in the future. There is also one who is named Jesus, but called Justus, who is there with Paul. Those three are the only Jews with Paul, wherever he is imprisoned, and they provide comfort for him. There are others, however, including Epaphras, who is one of them and a servant of Christ – Epaphras might be called a “prayer warrior” today, for he wrestles in prayer for them, that they might understand and stand in God’s will. Also there are Luke, the beloved physician, and someone named Demas.

Paul also sends greetings to the church at Laodicia, and asks that the letter also be read there; and he greets Nympha and the church in her house. (Once again, Paul identifies and greets a woman leader in the church, regardless of what he may say in other letters.) There is also someone there named Archippus, whom Paul, or the Lord, has given a specific task and Paul asks them to remind him to fulfill that task. Sometimes we all need the encouragement of the community to move forward in what the Lord has asked us to do, or where he has asked us to serve – to complete our own tasks.

Finally, Paul signs the letter himself (in his own hand), and asks that they remember his imprisonment, and in benediction, “Grace be with you”.

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