Rev. Peter Greiner
Sun 9 Dec
The letter to Philemon might be small but it packs a punch when it comes to doing what is actually asked. Jesus said to His followers at one point that they will know you are my disciples by the love you have for one another.
Although we would agree with Jesus’ words, and given the right circumstances, we would live out such instructions. In the midst of followers of Jesus right now we would readily say that we would love and forgive people.
However, what happens if the person we are being asked to forgive and love is the one who has wronged us. This is the thrust of Paul’s Letter to Philemon. Paul asks Philemon to forgive his runaway slave, Onesimus. We are not told what Onesimus has done. Maybe he stole the family silver before fleeing.
Although he flees from his master, he cannot run and hide from the Eternal Master, God. God put Onesimus in contact with Paul’s mission team, where he is soundly converted under the preaching of Paul.
Upon being converted and committed to following Jesus, Onesimus is left to decide whether he should go back to Philemon and throw himself at his master’s mercy. You can read the letter and see the arguments Paul uses to convince Philemon to welcome back Onesimus as a brother in Christ. It is a marvellous picture of what God has done for is in Christ. We are all runaways. Have you thrown yourself at God’s mercy?