So we come to the end of this amazing book to the Church in Colossae. A place Paul has never been to but a people he is reaching out to. The theologian who has revealed wonderful truths about Christ ends the letter focused on personal relationships. He shows us that we need both. We need to pursue Christ and pursue our love and care for one another. They both go hand in hand.
So let us look at the friends of Christ who are Paul’s friends and do so in 3 sections.
Paul has friends who represent him:-
“Tychicus will tell you all the news about me. He is a dear brother, a faithful minister and fellow servantin the Lord. I am sending him to you for the express purpose that you may know about ourcircumstances and that he may encourage your hearts. He is coming with Onesimus, our faithful and dear brother, who is one of you. They will tell you everything that is happening here.” (Colossians 4: 7-9)
Friend number 1 – Tychicus.
He would be carrying both letters, Ephesians and Colossians, These prison letters were probably circular ones and Tychicus would arrive in Laodicea and deliver the Ephesian letter (written for all the churches in Asia Minor). Laodicea was a few miles from Colossae and Tychicus would be able to travel there easily. If you read v16 we get the understanding that Paul wants them to swap these 2 letters.
- A dear brother
- A faithful minister
- A Fellow servant
- In the Lord
Look at b and c first.
What did Tychicus actually do? We obviously do not have many details.
But he didn’t have the ministry of Paul. He wasn’t the Apostle. He was actually the postman. Now who was the greatest? The Apostle or the Postman? Both are needed. Without the postman what good would it be to write anything at all? But this postman was a faithful minister. He demonstrated the life and work of Christ in his own life and was very capable of speaking this to other people also. He was also a fellow servant. He helped Paul in prison with his needs. His tasks were probably not spectacular ones. But there is no sacred/secular work for it is all done ‘in the Lord’.
So look now at a. and d.
The Apostle calls him his dear brother. A loved equal. A shaper and influencer of his life. He is also a worker in the Lord. This faithful minister and fellow servant is doing his work in the context of Christian brotherhood and Christ’s presence. He would not have known that 2,000 years later we would all be speaking of him and wanting to be like him!
Friend number 2 – Onesimus
The runaway slave returning to the man he deserted. We of course read of him in Philemon where he apparently stole from his master and then fled Rome. Paul is probably being gracious to leave out the words ‘fellow servant/slave’ as used for Tychicus but everything else is the same, faithful and a dear brother.
This man who had been incredibly unfaithful is now faithful. There are no more details. Those are reserved for the personal letter to Philemon himself. But it is clear that Paul sees his friend as totally transformed and certainly able to represent him. He is a walking testimony to the message of Christ that Paul has been proclaiming.
Do you have friends like this who can represent you? Paul did.
You may view your life very simply. “I’m just a postman” “I just do this secular job” and you may carry a past which isn’t easy to shake off at times, “I’m just a thief and a runaway” but if these 2 men can become friends of Paul and more importantly friends of Christ, then so can you. You are never “just a …” You are a representative of the gospel of Christ. That’s your job and that’s who you are.