The Epistle to Philemon: Final Greetings: Three Fellow Workers. Part Two.

23 Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, sends greetings to you, 24 and so do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke, my fellow workers.” (Philemon 23–24 (ESV)

We have studied two of the final three individuals mentioned by the Apostle Paul in his letter Philemon. They are Aristarchus, Demas and Luke. Paul called them, along with Epaphras and Mark, his fellow workers. Today, we focus our attention on Luke.

Luke was one of Paul’s companions who sent their greetings in his letter to Colossae; ‘Luke (Gk. Loukas) the beloved physician’ (Col. 4:14). Paul’s description of him suggests that he had given medical care to Paul, no doubt during the latter’s imprisonment.

In today’s text, probably written at the same time, the apostle described Luke as a fellow-worker.. This suggests that his help in the work of the gospel was not confined to his medical skill alone.

A third reference to him is in one of Paul’s last messages: ‘Luke alone is with me’ (2 Tim. 4:11). This confirms the close link between the two men.

Luke is generally thought to have been a Gentile, but some commentators have argued that Col. 4:11 refers to a particular group within the wider circle of Jewish Christians. Consequently, Luke may have been a Jewish Christian of the Dispersion.

One commentator writes, “Luke’s admiration for Paul comes out clearly in the course of the Book of Acts. Through his close contact with him and with other Christian leaders, and as a consequence of his visits to Jerusalem and Caesarea (cf. Acts 21:17ff.), Luke had ample opportunities to gain first-hand knowledge about the life of Jesus and the history of the earliest Christian church. He could rightly claim in the prologue to his Gospel that he was well qualified for his task, having carefully and thoroughly investigated all the relevant facts, as they were handed down by responsible witnesses in the church (Lk. 1:1–4).”

As illustrated by Luke, an individual does not have to be well known to be well used by the LORD. God worked through this man in a significant way. He may so chose to use other believers in Christ who, like Luke, receive little notoriety. Remember, it is not as important who the servant is but rather the Master of the servant.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Soli deo Gloria!

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