- Philemon 1:10, 11 (ESV)
The epistle to Philemon tells a beautiful story of redemption. It does not only tell of redemption between God and man but also of redemption between man and man.
Philemon, a Christian, owned a slave named Onesimus. One day Onesimus ran away from his owner and, under the providence of God, crossed paths with the apostle Paul. While spending time with Paul, Onesimus trusted Christ for salvation. Afterwards, Paul wrote to his friend, Philemon, regarding his runaway slave. Paul encouraged Philemon to receive back his slave not as just a slave but also as a brother in Christ.
Some may read this epistle and wonder why a first-century Christian owned a slave. I believe those people miss the greatness of this book. Perhaps on another occasion we may discuss slavery in the early church but not now.
The beauty of this epistle is that a disobedient slave became reconciled not only to God but his human master. Reconciliation between people is a great benefit which is wrought from the blood of Christ.
Jesus Christ holds the power to bring people who were formerly at odds with each other and bring them together into unity as brothers and sisters in Christ. Jesus Christ brings peace to the most hostile of human relations.
This truth should give much hope. Through Christ, broken relationships may be restored. The marriage which seems dead can be resurrected. Parents and children who have become estranged can be brought close. Two friends who have drifted apart can once again draw together. With Christ, there is always hope on this side of eternity.
- Pastor Randy