Devoted Epaphroditus

Friday, July 20, 2012

“Yet I supposed it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, and companion in labour, and fellowsoldier, but your messenger, and he that ministered to my wants” (Philippians 2:25 KJV).

Epaphroditus, whose (heathen) name means, “Devoted to [the goddess] Venus,” was actually devoted to the true and living God, the God of the Bible.

Read the context to learn more about Epaphroditus: “For he longed after you all [Philippians], and was full of heaviness, because that ye had heard that he had been sick. For indeed he was sick nigh unto death: but God had mercy on him; and not on him only, but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow. I sent him therefore the more carefully, that, when ye see him again, ye may rejoice, and that I may be the less sorrowful. Receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness; and hold such in reputation:” (verses 26-29).

Paul is writing to Philippi from his prison in Rome, and he is sending the epistle of Philippians to Philippi by a courier and fellow Christian—Epaphroditus. The Apostle explains that Epaphroditus had been sick, but Paul is thankful that he has since recovered: Paul is depressed in prison, and he does not need more “sorrow” (the death of a saint, “fellowsoldier,” and someone who had provided for his needs, would certainly add to Paul’s distress).

Both the Philippians and Paul will be encouraged when Epaphroditus arrives in Philippi: the Philippians will read news from Paul, and Paul will be relieved that God’s Word (his epistle) reached the saints in Philippi. Paul urges the Philippians to “hold such [Epaphroditus] in reputation.” Why? Verse 30 explains: “because for the work of Christ he was nigh unto death, not regarding his life, to supply your lack of service toward me.”

Epaphroditus had literally worked in the ministry to the point of near-death! Paul had needs, and the Philippians failed to supply for them, so Epaphroditus risked his life to compensate. What dedication! Epaphroditus was devoted (but not to Venus): may we be as Epaphroditus, who served the Lord Jesus Christ, “not regarding his life.”