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Monday, August 20, 2007

Philemon part 2

III. Request of Reconciliation.

A. Appeal of Love not Authority.

8 Therefore, though I might be very bold in Christ to command you what is fitting, 9 yet for love's sake I rather appeal to you--being such a one as Paul, the aged, and now also a prisoner of Jesus Christ—

- Because of Paul’s apostolic authority he could have commanded him to receive Onesimus back. However, he appealed out of love to receive him back.

B. Receive Onesimus.

10 I appeal to you for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten while in my chains, 11 who once was useless to you, but now is useful to you and to me. 12 I am sending him back. You therefore receive him, that is, my own heart, 13 whom I wished to keep with me, that on your behalf he might minister to me in my chains for the gospel.

There could be a play on words here in order to lighten up the seriousness of the letter. Onesimus meant useful.

“begotten while in my chains” Paul converted Onesimus, and possibly baptized him.

“my own heart” Paul shows his love he developed for Onesimus.

C. God’s Work with Onesimus.

14 But without your consent I wanted to do nothing, that your good deed might not be by compulsion, as it were, but voluntary. 15 For perhaps he departed for a while for this purpose, that you might receive him forever, 16 no longer as a slave but more than a slave--a beloved brother, especially to me but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord.

vs. 15 “he departed for a while for this purpose” God’s hand is at work here. What are the chances that a slave of one of Paul’s clergy would run into Paul in a city of 1 million.

D. Promise of Restitution.

17 If then you count me as a partner, receive him as you would me.18 But if he has wronged you or owes anything, put that on my account. 19 I, Paul, am writing with my own hand. I will repay--not to mention to you that you owe me even your own self besides.

“receive him as you would me” speaking highly of Onesimus; if there is any monetary need; Paul will restore it.

“you owe me” could refer to Philemon’s possible conversion under Paul’s ministry.

E. Confidence in Philemon. 20 Yes, brother, let me have use from you in the Lord; refresh my heart in the Lord. 21 Having confidence in your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I say. 22 But, meanwhile, also prepare a guest room for me, for I trust that through your prayers I shall be granted to you.

Another possible pun or joke Paul is making. “use” is part of Onesimus’ name here. Paul is confident in Philemon’s character that he will receive Onesimus.

IV. Conclusion. 23 Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, greets you, 24 as do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, Luke, my fellow laborers. 25 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.

Onesimus (Feb. 15). Moved by this letter Philemon, indeed, received Onesimus as a brother freeing him from slavery. Later, Onesimus was consecrated a bishop by the apostles themselves and accepted the episcopal throne at Ephesus following the Apostle Timothy. This is evident from the Epistle of Ignatius the God-bearer [Theophorus]. At the time of Trajan's persecution, Onesimus, already an old man, was arrested and brought to Rome. In Rome, Onesimus gave an accounting of himself before judge Tertycus, was imprisoned and finally beheaded. A wealthy woman removed his body, placed it in a silver__arcophagus and buried it honorably in the year 109 A.D.

Troparion:
Holy apostle Onesimus of the Seventy;
entreat the merciful;
to grant our souls forgiveness of transgressions.

Kontakion - Tone 4
The Church ever sees you as a shining star, O apostle Onesimus,
Your miracles have manifested great enlightenment.
Therefore we cry out to Christ:
"Save those who with faith honor Your apostle, O Most Merciful One."

From the OCA website:

St. Philemon: Sts Philemon and Apphia, and also St Archippus (who also lived at Colossa), all received the crown of martyrdom during the persecution of Nero (54-68). During a pagan festival an enraged crowd rushed into the Christian church when services were going on. All fled in terror, and only Sts Philemon, Archippus and Apphia remained. They seized them and led them off to the city prefect. The crowd like beasts beat and stabbed St Archippus with knives, and he died on the way to the court. Sts Philemon and Apphia were stoned to death by order of the prefect.

The memory of the holy Apostles Archippus, Philemon, and Apphia is also celebrated on February 19.

Troparion - Tone 3
Holy apostle Philemon of the Seventy;
entreat the merciful;
to grant our souls forgiveness of transgressions.

Kontakion - Tone 4
The Church ever sees you as a shining star, O apostle Philemon,
Your miracles have manifested great enlightenment.
Therefore we cry out to Christ:
"Save those who with faith honor Your apostle, O Most Merciful One."

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