Remember the Team
In last year’s super bowl, it was the old man, Brady, versus the young man, Goff, the Super Bowl veteran vs. the young upstart from LA. One thing I noticed from both Brady and Goff in their postgame interviews, neither boasted about themselves. They stressed their team. To win football games it takes a team and to faithfully serve Christ it takes a team.
The Apostle Paul was the first century’s most effective communicator of the Gospel other than Jesus himself. He’s still impacting us today, but we’ve seen through this entire letter his humility and focus on others. He might be writing from prison, but he was not alone. Look at all the fellow believers he mentions as he closes his personal letter to Philemon.
“Epaphras, my fellow prisoner, greets you in Christ, Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke, my fellow laborer. The grace of the Lord Jesus, the Messiah be with your spirit.”
Just to give us a reminder of how important team was to Paul, here’s a list of all the times Paul passes along greetings in his letters in the New Testament and mentions his team--Rom. 16:3–16; 1 Cor. 16:19–20; 2 Cor. 13:12; Phil. 4:21–22; Col. 4:10–15; 2 Tim. 4:19–21; Titus 3:15.
Here in Philemon Paul begins his list with Epaphras, the man who initially brought the Gospel to the Colossians (Col. 1:7-8), and was with Paul in Rome constantly praying that his home town folks might be strengthened in the Lord (Col. 4:12). Paul goes on to mention Mark, giving us proof that Paul has shown grace to the young man who earlier abandoned him (Acts 15:38) but has now, years later, become a trusted worker at Paul’s side (Col. 4:10). In this letter as Paul appeals to Philemon to show grace to his former slave, Paul has done this with John Mark. And just so we won’t forget the importance of Jesus’ grace, Paul concludes the letter where he began, committing us to the grace of the Lord, Jesus, Christ.
LORD, thanks for Martin, Alvin, Terrance, Sean, Tim, Cecil, Sean, and Johnny, and all my other brothers and sisters who are serving students with me today as I teach the Psalms at Southern Bible. Thanks for all the grace they have poured into my life and how they and our students strengthen my spirit.
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