The Berean Expositor
Volume 48 - Page 81 of 181
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must be gracious and a preservative against evil and error, like salt in food (Col. 4: 6). In
other words, the believer who wishes to be faithful and fruitful must not only be
opportune as regards time, but also speak appropriately to the person concerned, and here
heavenly wisdom will be needed as to the best way to handle each one that comes our
way, for everyone is individual in his needs.
Paul now refers to his associates and messengers and brings forward Tychicus who
was the bearer of the letter to the Ephesians as well, and also possibly one to Laodicea
(Eph. 6: 21). He is mentioned twice in the Pastoral Epistles (II Tim. 4: 12; Titus 3: 12)
and is designated by the Apostle as a faithful friend and helper who would declare his
circumstances to them. Onesimus, the runaway slave, who in the providence of God had
come into contact with Paul at Rome and become a believer, is the subject of the letter to
Philemon. Though once an unbelieving slave, he is now `one of you' and, from a
spiritual stand-point, on an equal footing with the other members of the Colossian church.
Tychicus and Onesimus would be able to give them an up-to-date account of the Apostle
and the circumstances surrounding him as the `prisoner of the Lord' at Rome.
The Apostle now sends greetings from six believers who were with him at the time of
writing, three of them Jews and three of them Gentile. Aristarchus was associated with
Paul in the riot of Ephesus (Acts 19: 29) and later went to Jerusalem as one of the two
delegates sent from Thessalonica. He also, together with Luke, accompanied the Apostle
when he set sail from Caesarea to Rome (Acts 27: 2). Paul describes him as his
`fellow-prisoner' which probably means he shared the Apostle's imprisonment
Mark joins in the greetings (4: 10). He is described as the cousin of Barnabas (R.V.)
which explains the link between him and Barnabas in the Acts (15: 37), causing the
dispute between Paul and Barnabas when he failed and left them, not being able
apparently to stand the rigours of the way. Now, at the time of writing the Colossian
letter, he had redeemed his reputation. It would appear that the Colossians had received
some communication regarding Mark (4: 10) and they are bidden to receive him if he
should visit them.
Of Jesus Justus we know nothing apart from this reference. Jesus is the Greek form of
Joshua and Justus was a common Latin name. "These only are my fellow-workers unto
the Kingdom of God" declared the Apostle. We have shown earlier on that the thought
of a Kingdom is stressed in the Prison Epistles after Acts 28: as well as before, and
therefore it is quite erroneous to try to limit the thought of a Kingdom to the people of
Israel. It is the sphere of the Kingdom that differs before the Acts and afterwards,
inasmuch as earth is distinct from heaven.
There is no part of God's redemptive purpose (touching both heaven and earth) that
does not come under God's sovereignty. Almost the last thought of Paul in his final
letter is to declare that the Lord would preserve or save him "unto His heavenly
Kingdom" (II Tim. 4: 18). These Jewish Christians had been a comfort and support to
the imprisoned Apostle.