It seems you lost Onesimus for a little while so that you could have him back forever. He is no longer like a slave to you. He is more than a slave, for he is a beloved brother, especially to me. Now he will mean much more to you, both as a man and as a brother in the Lord. So if you consider me your partner, welcome him as you would welcome me. If he has wronged you in any way or owes you anything, charge it to me.
In this new life, it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized, slave, or free. Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us.
Who said, “You can’t go home again?” The last place Onesimus wanted to go was back home, for he was wanted for stealing money from his master. Runaway slaves understood the harsh punishment for getting caught, and that’s why he decided to hide out in Rome, the largest city in the world. But God had other plans for him.
Just when he thought he had gotten off scott-free he met Paul, who was in chains awaiting his execution, and he promptly led Onesimus to Jesus. Coincidentally, Paul knew his master, Philemon. Soon thereafter, Paul brokered the return of the slave. Ironically, Onesimus’ name actually meant “useful” but up to this point the opposite was true. Paul convinced Onesimus to go back home, with a letter to be read out loud, which was an appeal for clemency. In this beautiful text, Paul alluded to Jesus’ crucifixion that freed all mankind from slavery, and urged Philemon to make Onesimus, “useful” once again.
Freedom is never free! If Onesimus and Philemon were to be reconciled, it was going to take the courage of three men. First, Paul had to believe the Gospel changes the status of all who believe. Philemon had to let go of his lawful right of retaliation, and Onesimus had to believe in the power of forgiveness. Pray that all our relationships at Rock Point bring healing and forgiveness to everyone who believes in the freedom of Jesus!
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To learn more about Biblical fasting, check out our Fasting Guide.