Colossians #19 Colossians 4: 7-14
Colossians #19 Colossians 4: 7-14
Colossians 4:7-14 (MSG)
Paul mentions “Jesus, who is called Justus.” Scholars have not been able to find any additional information on this companion of Paul. But this we know, Rome was not a friendly place to Paul. He was imprisoned there and may have been executed. In tough and dangerous times still Justus didn’t leave Paul’s side in fear of persecution. [https://www.biblestudytools.com/encyclopedias/isbe/jesus-justus.html ] Justus is an example to us of staying faithful to the cause even in the face of murderous opposition.
Have you read any of the books Lee Strobel has produced? Lee does investigative reporting, gathering information, consulting documents, and doing interviews to get the story straight. Lee Strobel is a lot like Luke. Luke was a trusted companion of Paul. It is through Luke’s careful research that we have what he referred to as an orderly account of Jesus' ministry (around A.D. 60. About 30 years after the resurrection). Luke also records what happened with the Apostles, and the early church, and of course was an eyewitness to Paul’s mission. Luke was an intelligent man, both a medical doctor and a meticulous historian, he spoke Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic [ Profiles of Faith: Luke - Paul's Beloved Friend and Companion | United Church of God (ucg.org)], and Paul calls him a beloved friend (Colossians 4:14). When someone accuses those who follow Jesus of being simpletons, suggest they do a little research into this man named Luke.
Demas is an interesting character. Paul says he is sending greetings to the congregation along with Luke. In the letter Paul writes to Philemon Demas is listed among Paul’s co-workers. In a much later letter Paul wrote to his protégé Timothy we read that Demas “chasing fads, went off to Thessalonica and left me here” (2 Tim 4:10 (MSG). The fads that got Demas off track were most likely the teachings of the Gnostics and or the Judaizers or just because of the temptations the world offers (1 John 2:19). Demas was on the right road, with one of the greatest men in the history of Christianity, one time a co-laborer, now Paul sees him as a deserter. There’s a lesson for us here also, “finish the race” (2 Timothy 4:7). Finish the race so you don’t get disqualified for the prize for which God has called you heavenward in Christ Jesus (2 Timothy 4:7-8, Philippians 3:14). Discipleship is a non-stop lifetime journey that culminates in life eternal.
Tychicus, Onesimus, Aristarchus, Mark, Justus, Luke, and this time Demas and we have previously read about Epaprahas, these are Paul’s companions in a most difficult time. Paul’s in jail. Yet these brothers are supporting him, making sure Paul had what he needed to be effective in his calling, making sure that the Message was still being told, men and women converted, and disciples maturing in the faith.
Do you realize that is what you as a part of this congregation have done for me in my most dire of circumstances, you supported me, mourned with me, rejoiced with me, and have done your best to make sure I have had everything I needed to be effective in carrying out my calling. Oh, sure some played the role of Demas, but not you. You have stood by me. Thank you. You are all heroes in my book.
Here is what we can take home with us from this teaching:
Disciples are to either be in the spotlight or support someone who is in the spotlight.
Disciples stay faithful to the cause even in the face of murderous opposition.
Christianity engages the intellect. Use that brain God gave you to make sense of faith and life. Know what you believe and why you believe it.
Discipleship is a non-stop lifetime journey that culminates in life eternal.
We all need brothers and sisters in Christ who will stand by us in dire circumstances supporting us, encouraging us, and interceding for us. Gather that team around yourself, and be part of a team like that. To live the way God desires you need close companions old and new.