Philippians 2:25-30, NASB
25) But I thought it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother and fellow worker and fellow soldier, who is also your messenger and minister to my need;
26) because he was longing for you all and was distressed because you had heard that he was sick.
27) For indeed he was sick to the point of death, but God had mercy on him, and not on him only but also on me, so that I would not have sorrow upon sorrow.
28) Therefore I have sent him all the more eagerly so that when you see him again you may rejoice and I may be less concerned about you.
29) Receive him then in the Lord with all joy, and hold men like him in high regard;
30) because he came close to death for the work of Christ, risking his life to complete what was deficient in your service to me.
-Epaphroditus has been ministering with and to Paul on behalf of the Philipians who sent him to Paul after he was imprisoned in Rome. In Philippians 4:18 we further learn that they sent Epaphroditus to Paul with gifts of some sort. 'But I have received everything in full and have an abundance; I am amply supplied, having received from Epaphroditus what you have sent, a fragrant aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well-pleasing to God."
-While with Paul in Rome Epaphroditus became so ill that he was near death.
-God healed Epaphroditus, which Paul says was also showing mercy to him.
I often think of Paul as having this amazing strength. It struck me that here he says that God showed mercy to Paul by healing Epaphroditus so that he would not have "sorrow upon sorrow." I wonder what his sorrow was? I have a hard time believing that it is because he is a prisoner. He referred to himself as a prisoner of Christ which leads me to believe that he did not view the men who had him arrested as having any control over his ciccumstances that was not granted them by God; and while imprisoned he did not cease to preach the Gospel and wrote several letters encouraging various churches among other things. Remember it was during his imprisonment in Philippi that the jailer and his family heard about Jesus work on the cross. I suspect they were members of the church the letter of Philippians was addressed to.
I wonder if his sorrow is related to those he mentioned yesterday who were motivated by their own selfish desires. Perhaps Timothy and Epaphroditus were the only ones with him at the time who shared his fervor for furthering the Gospel. I don't know, it is all conjecture at this point. From our text I assume that Epaphroditus was really laboring with Paul, he was engaged in the battle as "fellow soldier." It would be a sorrow to lose a man like that.
This is another one of those passages where I have not come up with an application for myself. Perhaps just to labor well and be an encouragement to other believer's as I hold fast to the word of truth.
Grace and Peace,
I am a woman with a Mary heart and these are my musings as I read and study God's Word
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