Week 26, Day 2
June 28, 2022
“I pray that your partnership with us in the faith may be effective in deepening your understanding of every good thing we share for the sake of Christ.” (Philemon 6)
Paul challenges Philemon and the church that meets together to accept back a runaway slave, Onesimus.
This runaway ran into Paul and his life changed forever. In a stunning bit of story, Paul challenges the Christians to receive Onesimus back, even forgiving him! Of all things, consider him, more than a slave, but a brother in Christ.
The real challenge here is that this has enormous social implications. What would the other slaves think of Philemon? They might get the idea that this is how Philemon rolls. It could be quite detrimental to the whole household to lose all the slaves. In the ancient world, slaves were as common as televisions and electricity in our modern households.
Paul is sharing this challenge with Philemon and invites him to see the goodness of Christ within it. “Deepening your understanding of every good thing we share for the sake of Christ.”
Just as Jew and Gentile are reconciled in Christ. Another good thing is that now, slave and free are one in Christ as well.
It leads us to today, to consider what is the good that Christ is leading us towards? How far reaching is the forgiveness of God? What social implications do we need to disregard as Philemon does for the good things that Christ is leading us towards?
Jordan Ickes, Minister of Etna Green Church of Christ.