The Epistle of Philemon is a letter written by the Apostle Paul, to a man name Philemon concerning the reception of a former servant named Onesimus. We know that Philemon was seemingly wealthy man and that he hosted his local church to meet in his house (1:2). (In the New Testament era, most of the churches met in the houses of wealthy patrons. There were not many church buildings until centuries later.)
Paul writes as a close friend of Philemon. He had prayed for Philemon often ( 1:4) and kept up with him, hearing from others about Philemon’s well-being as well as his actions and attitudes (1:5). Paul was even planning to visit Philemon (1:22), and perhaps Paul had even been instrumental in Philemon’s own faith in the Lord (1:19).
Onesimus who was Philemon’s servant was spiritually lost while he served Philemon (1:11). He had chosen to run away to Rome and had probably stole some goods from Philemon (1:18). Yet, when he got to Rome he ran into Paul, who was instrumental in bringing Onesimus to faith in the Lord (1:10, 16). Paul is now sending Onesimus back to make things right with Philemon (1:17-21). This is an excellent epistle about forgiveness and restoration among individuals in the infancy of the church. Those first Christians really did struggle with some of the same issues we struggle with today.
FATHER, thank you for the reconciliation that begins when we trust Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. Thank you that being reconciled to you causes us to seek reconciliation with others. Thank you for the forgiveness offered to us through the blood of Jesus Christ. I pray that we forgive others because we know what it is to be forgiven by Jesus Christ. Thank you for the grace to shepherd your flock. IN JESUS NAME, AMEN.
What did you take away from today’s reading? What are your thoughts or questions? Feel free to comment below and enter the discussion.