Then I said, ‘See, I have come to do your will, O God’ (in the scroll of the book it is written of me).” 9hebrews 10:7, NRSV)
Peter’s simple, straightforward logic, and God’s obvious affirmation, rendered them speechless. There was no tenable argument, no counterpoint could be made, God had made His desire and will abundantly clear. But this issue was going to crop again and again. Prejudice is hard to get rid of.
Never underestimate the value of one person being brought to a saving faith. The only reason you and I know about Ananias is because of his willing response to God resulted in the conversion of this one man, Saul, who became the apostle Paul.
Peter intimated there is a redemptive quality about suffering for the good, for doing good, for goodness’s sake, as unto the Lord, who intimately knows what this suffering is like, and what it entails.
I think, for me, this story means determining to see adversity and ordeals as opportunities to see the spiritual realm more clearly, and to expect God’s glory to be revealed in the moment, even in me. Growth is not the goal, it’s simply the side-effect. The goal is to incarnate Jesus, reveal Jesus, and to become ever closer to Jesus.
Jesus is the hope for all people, the one in whom are all the hopes of the world.
Genuine living faith is costly, in selflessness, sacrifice, humility, obedience to God and godly love. Yet, James taught, it is this genuine faith that receives the crown of life from God.
These were the team Tychicus and Onesimus had only recently left in order to courier Paul’s missives to the region of Phrygia, four stalwart co-campaigners, weathered and seasoned in the work of the Lord.
Many, including myself, have complained the tone of Paul’s letter, even the wording, seems manipulative. How could Philemon make an honest decision, sprung from God at work in his heart, with Paul first complimenting him (ego strokes), then talking about Onesimus in such affectionate terms (pressure) and finally referring to himself as a mere elder asking permission (which seems to pluck the strings of guilt and shame)?
did Onesimus lead the way, full of hope, confident both in Paul and Timothy’s letter, and in the Spirit at work in Philemon? Was it Onesimus who handed Philemon this personal note, and told him, “This is from our brother Paul,”?