Doing Church: Philemon

Before I begin, I thought I would just say “Happy Mother’s Day” to all the mothers out there! Without you, we would not exist. I love my momma!

Today at church, we continued our series “One chapter wonders” with the book of Philemon. Philemon seems to have been a very wealthy man, owning several slaves. One of his slave, Onesimus had run away and possibly stolen personal property of Philemon. In Onesimus’ travels, he met Paul. Paul had, at some point, shared the Gospel with Onesimus and Onesimus had received the Lord.

Paul’s letter was written to Philemon. Paul wanted to keep Onesimus to assist Paul in the ministry but knew that Onesimus needed to make amends Philemon so Paul wrote this letter and sent Onesimus on a journey back to the land of Philemon. I wonder what the journey was like. I wonder if Onesimus thought Philemon would not accept Paul’s letter. Did he fear his life? I wonder how long the journey was.

Paul said that Onesimus was no longer to be accepted as a slave but now as a brother (a fellow believer in Christ Jesus). I want to believe that Philemon took the letter from Onesimus’ hands, read it, and embraced him. The ‘prodigal son’ had returned. I wonder, like the parable, Philemon ran when he saw Onesimus rounding the corner. I wonder if a fatten calf and a robe was brought out for him to wear.

Like Onesimus, our story is very much the same. The blood of Jesus is our ‘letter’ of acceptance as a son or a daughter. When we come to the Father, we are embraced in His arms. When was the last time you stopped and thought about the Father’s embrace? When was the last time how God calls us to embrace others in like manner? It is the embrace of God that makes living this life a whole lot sweeter.

We do not really know what happened after the letter was sent to Philemon. I am sure Philemon accepted Onesimus, just as God accepts us.

So what’s the challenge? Study the book of Philemon. It is a small letter with a lot of important information about redemption and acceptance. I hope and pray that your study of the book of Philemon is profound and enjoyable. God bless

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