October 27, 2019
A SLAVE OWNER WAS A DEAR FRIEND OF THE APOSTLE PAUL. Don’t take a knee yet! The bible records this introduction to a letter written by the Apostle Paul, “Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother, To Philemon our dear friend and fellow worker,” (Philemon 1:1 NIV). Yes the slave owner Philemon was a dear friend of the Apostle Paul. Weird? Not! The bible book of Philemon consists of 25 verses. It is such a short book that one may wonder how it could have much to say of importance. Yet it speaks much to our generation. The reader must read and understand this book in the context of life 2000 years ago under Roman rule. It is a living real life drama of slavery involving a slave owner (Philemon), a runaway slave, an Apostle and the transforming power of new life in Jesus Christ that brings them all together.
The powerful message of forgiveness for past wrongs and the new relationship of slave and slave owner in Christ illustrates dramatically our own relationship with Christ in the past, present and future. Sometimes when we are wronged and badly hurt emotionally or financially or in some other way it may be very difficult when God asks us to forgive the person who is the cause of that wrong. Yet Paul asked Philemon to do just that. And sometimes Jesus asks us to do the same. But isn’t that exactly where we were in our life when we asked Jesus to forgive our sins against Him? The lessons in this book are many if you take the time to reflect on all 25 verses. This is a good time to do that. I encourage you to do so because I think God will have a lesson for you in this book as He does everyone who reads it.