“Paul, a Prisoner”

The Apostle Paul, what a great man of God. He was an apostle, the apostle to the Gentiles, the greatest of the apostles; he planted churches from Syria to Spain and authored 14 of the New Testament books. He begins the book of Philemon with Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ. He uses this phrase four other times in his writings. Paul apparently understood that at one time he was a prisoner of sin but when God saved him on the road to Damascus he became a prisoner of Jesus Christ. He full well understands what it means to belong to another. He understands that there are those who are in bondage to sin and Satan because he had been there, but he also understands what it means to be the prisoner of the Lord Jesus Christ and be free from sin.

Paul is writing to his good friend Philemon, a convert of the apostle and a resident of Colosse and host to the church there. He is probably a wealthy man; he owns slaves and a home large enough to have church in. He is referred to by the apostle as “our dearly beloved and fellow laborer. Both of these titles indicate the very high esteem the Apostle Paul holds for Philemon.

Paul is very thankful for his friend and brother and commends him for his love and faith toward the Lord and the saints. He apparently has heard of Philemon’s concern for the saints as well.

Paul, referring to himself as the “prisoner of Jesus Christ” at this writing is a prisoner of Rome. The Apostle has already told us that he has learned to be content in his state, knowing that whatever God was doing in his life was the right thing for him at this time. So even though a prisoner physically, knowing that he too is a prisoner spiritually, he writes a letter to Philemon in defense of his runaway slave, Onesimus. Thank God for Christian friends and brothers that stand with us in times of trouble.

A man that hath friends, must show himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.

– Bro. Bill Forde