Here’s our next 3 friends the Apostle mentions and how very interesting they are! Here is what Paul says, “Epaphras, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greetings. He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured. I vouch for him that he is working hard for you and for those at Laodicea and Hierapolis. Our dear friend Luke, the doctor, and Demas send greetings.” (Colossians 4 v 12-14)
Friend number 1 – Epaphras, focused on spiritual things.
Epaphras is a Colossian and whether or not he planted the Church there, he was certainly influential in its beginning (1:7).
He was person who put others first. How thankful we are for self-less friends?!
But it is prayer that he is remembered for. A wrestler, he works hard and Paul can recommend him because he has seen him in prayer. He is not just praying for the Colossians but 2 other places also. It is hard enough in the UK to get people to pray for their own Church never mind someone else’s! Epaphras is a kingdom man.
Friend number 2 – Luke, focused on physical things
Luke, the doctor, that’s how Paul introduces him. The contribution that Luke made to the spread of the gospel is not fully known but it is substantial. He was a travelling companion of Paul and wrote the book of Acts with amazing detail the Apostle’s missionary journeys.
But here he is, the doctor.
Paul, in prison, would have had medical needs for sure and he had his friend, his own personal doctor with him.
How we need friends who will come alongside and ask not about the work of God, whether we are reading the Bible and praying, but just ask whether we are sleeping okay? Are we eating the right foods? Are we taking exercise? The physical is really important. Sometimes your friend will have to ask awkward questions. But we are better people for allowing friends to speak into our lives in such a way.
Friend number 3 – Demas, focused on his dream
This is where we become sad.
Look at what happens to this man.
Philemon v24 (we will come to this soon, written at the same time) Demas is a fellow worker.
Here in Colossians 4 v 14 Paul just mentions his name, Demas.
Then in 2 Timothy 4:10 “Demas, having loved this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica”
In this letter, what is going on in Paul’s mind when he mentions Demas? Say something more Paul. Was Paul already doubting his friend?
We know that Paul said because he loved this present world he deserted him. It was probably in his heart to do so at the time of Paul sending the Colossian letter.
Some may think it was an abandoning of his salvation. But maybe it wasn’t.
It could be simply this, the choice between looking after an old Apostle trapped in prison, going nowhere, the thrill of missionary journeys having ended, well, it doesn’t sound like fun does it? Demas needed to live his life, he needed to see the world and get what it had to offer him, he had dreams you see.
The Apostle would soon feel deserted. But for now, he is questioning, will his friend stay or leave?