The book of Philemon gives us a glimpse of who Jesus is in the New Testament (N.T).
Though this is the shortest of Paul’s letters (1 chapter and 25 verses), the very essence of Philemon, which is friendship, forgiveness and restoration, is analogous to what Jesus has done for us. But before we delve into the crux of this account recorded in Philemon, I want to draw you attention to one thing. The word of the Year for year 2009 was “Unfriend” and pitifully it was said to have current and potential longevity. The reason I say this, is because, in this world, we may have the need to Unfriend someone; but in Christ and His people, is not only TRUE friendship spoken of, but TOTAL friendship can be experienced.
Philemon is the account of a friend, who sticks closer than a brother; of forgiveness and restoration. It was written by Paul to one of his fellow laborers (1:1), Philemon, to whom Paul begs to take back Onesimus, a runaway slave, who was converted to be a follower of Jesus Christ by Paul. Paul refers to Onesimus the slave, as his son (1:10) whom he had begotten and beseeches Philemon, stating that though Onesimus was once unprofitable to Philemon, he is now profitable to both Philemon and Paul. Paul tells Philemon, “I will personally be responsible for His debt and if thou regard me a partner, receive Him as a brother of mine, receive Him as myself”
Jesus told his disciples, I know longer call you my servants (slaves) but my friends (John 15:15), but after his resurrection, he told the woman, Go tell my brothers (not just friends) (Matthew 28:10) to go to Galilee where they shall see me.
Philemon 1:25 showcases Jesus as the GRACIOUS ONE. We are the prodigal runaway slaves (of and to sin). Jesus tells God, I am personally responsible for their debt (Father, forgive their debts for they know not what they do) and if you regard me your partner (for you and I are one), then receive them as my brothers [or sisters]; receive them as you would receive me (your beloved son, with whom you are well pleased).
Jesus takes us who are:
– Trash, and makes us His Treasure.
– Unprofitable to man, and makes us Profitable to God and man.
– Slaves to sin, and makes us Sons of God. He makes us Sons (and Daughters of God), so God the Just can receive us.
In Philemon, Jesus Christ is not only a friend who sticks closer than a brother, but our brother, the gracious one, who makes us who are runaway slaves into sons of God.
Points to ponder:
Do you need a FRIEND who will never forsake you nor leave you. You can find that friendship in none other than Jesus Christ.