Monday

“Still, I think it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus - my brother and co-worker and fellow soldier, your messenger and minister to my need.” (v. 25)

Philippians 2:19-30 Monday 6 October 2014


Background

At first glance, this section of Paul's letter to thePhilippians is simply a list of possible travel plans. Paul hopesto send Timothy (verse 19) and Epaphroditus (verse 25) to thePhilippians and indeed he hopes that, although he is currently inprison (Philippians 1:7) he will soon be free and ableto see them himself (verse 23). However, it is clear that theseplans for travel and meeting are actually the practicaldemonstration of a deep network of relationships within the earlyChristian community.

The first part of this chapter (Philippians 2:5-11) contains a hymn of praiseto the very nature of Christ. Here, in the second half of that samechapter, we see how this understanding of Jesus who took "the formof a slave" (Philippians 2:7) is worked out in the lives ofthose who seek to be his followers through a deep care for oneanother.

Paul is aware of the close bonds he has with both Timothy, whohas served with Paul in the work of the gospel "like a son with afather" (v. 22), and with Epaphroditus, who has been Paul's"brother and co-worker and fellow soldier" (v. 25) and yet Paul iswilling to send these two close friends and colleagues to thePhilippians as a very practical expression of the profound care andconcern shown by some (but not all - see verse 21) within the earlyChristian community.

Epaphroditus provides us with an important glimpse into theseclose relationships. He has come from Philippi with gifts for Paul(Philippians 4:18), but he has been seriouslyill (verse 27) and he is "distressed" (v. 26) to know that hisfriends in Philippi have heard of this illness. The word used herefor "distressed" is only used elsewhere in the New Testament tospeak of the anguish of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:37; Mark14:33) and therefore indicates a deep level of compassion andconcern which is indeed a reflection of the nature of Christ.


To Ponder

  • How might the communities of which you are a part become morefully a reflection of the servant nature of Jesus?
  • How might you offer a practical expression of care and concernto someone else today?


Previous Page Sunday
Next Page Tuesday