May 15 – Philemon – Philemon 1
The book of Philemon is more of a personal letter, rather than a letter to a group of people or an instructional book. We can learn many things about the man Philemon through this letter. Philemon had faith in Jesus Christ and love for the saints (fellow Christians). He prayed for Paul’s release from prison. Philemon had such a reputation of obedience that Paul was confident he would follow his request. Philemon was not afraid of work, as Paul considered him a valuable fellow laborer.
Among many other of Philemon’s traits, the big thing we learn in this passage was his response to being wronged. Philemon’s trust had been violated by Onesimus. Paul is not just asking Philemon to forgive Onesimus, but to accept Onesimus as he would his dear respected friend, Paul. The parallel, of course, is Jesus Christ asking our Heavenly Father to accept us as He would Jesus Himself. God does loves us and accepts us as He would Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son. In turn, Jesus asks us to forgive and receive one another as we would Jesus Himself. Sometimes it seems impossible to do, but Jesus never asks us to do something we are unable to do. “With God all things are possible,” and “I can do all things through Christ” are a couple passages that come to mind. We can overcome bitterness. We can forgive. We can love as Christ loves. All these we can do, but it will only be through the strength that God provides.