I’ve just finished studying Philemon in my BCC. It’s amazing how much treasure lies in a book when you really dig into it – I probably read through this letter about 30 times while studying it and doing assignments. First we started off with color coding it – highlighting repeated words and connectives, and then I had assignments on basic observation, interpretation, and how to apply this to my life. My favourite assignment was one where I had to write a letter from the perspective of Paul, Onesimus, or Philemon, and just figured I’d share it with you all to give you a glimpse into the type of stuff I’m doing…
(Paul, on sending Onesimus back to Philemon)
I am currently in prison in Rome, and just sent a dear friend, whom I consider my own son, back to his master.
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
It all started here. So one day I wake up and fine myself here in prison, as per usual. However, this day holds something different than most, a jumpy young fellow named Onesimus breezed in off the street. As I don’t get many visitors, I was eager to talk with someone from the outside.
So, we get talking, and I hear firsthand stories of what it’s like to be a slave here. I don’t blame this guy for escaping. He lifted his weary eyes, a swift glance at first, before daring to hold my gaze, daring to hope for something better.
What a privilege, to be able to share Jesus with this guy. The thing about Jesus is, He draws people in because He is Light. And so this guy kept coming back, day after day, and we got to talk more about Jesus. As He does, Jesus transformed Him.
It got a little complicated though, as because I knew He was a slave, I was obliged under Roman law to send Onesimus back to His master.
Easier said than done when someone becomes like a son to you.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that true Love conquers all, and then second chances do exist in Christ.
So I wrote this letter, explaining the transformation that has taken place in Onesimus. You should probably know that the recipient, Philemon, is also a good mate of mine. I asked Him to take on Onesimus not as a slave, but as a brother.
Crazy, but hey, I know this guy that’s got a knack for making the possible impossible.
So I just tucked the letter into Onesimus’ pocket, and sent him on his way with a prayer.
I do not fear, but instead am filled with hope, as I know that God is faithful, redemptive, and merciful.
My only prayer is one of gratitude, thanking God for what He has done and for what I trust He will do.
I am at peace.