“With Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They will make known to you all things which are happening here.”
Now we turn to Tychicus’ traveling companion to Colosse.
Rome attracted drifters from all over the empire. It was to Rome that the fugitive slave Onesimus came. He found a new place in life there by the gospel. Paul sent Onesimus back to Colosse from Rome with Tychicus.
The Bible names Onesimus twice in two books. He was a person of an inauspicious beginning but a glorious ending. In the beginning, he fled from Colosse as a runaway slave of Philemon. He absconded money from his master Philemon and fled from Colosse. We learn nothing of this in Colossians, only in the epistle of Philemon (Philemon 10).
There is no call here in Colossians for reinstatement to his master. It says only here that he is a “faithful and beloved brother.”
“a faithful and beloved brother”
Though a runaway slave, Paul calls Onesimus a “faithful” brother (Philemon 16). He ran away as a non-Christian and came back as a trustworthy Christian. That is a fitting description of the man. Paul does not describe him as a great teacher or a flaming evangelist but simply “faithful” and “beloved.”
Onesimus is now faithful, not a thief. Paul said, “I lead him to Christ: (Philemon 10). “He is an ex-thief. I lead him to the Savior” (cf. Philemon 9-19). “He is an example of the transforming power of the gospel.”
There is no way to discern whether the church at Colossee read the book of Colossians first or the book of Philemon, where Paul appealed to Philemon to free Onesimus. It would be nice if he read Philemon first. His blood pressure would have remained low in that case.
“who is one of you”
Colosse was Onesimus’ hometown (cf. v.12). The runaway slave, now converted, spiritually held equal privileges with free men (Rom. 3:22; Gal. 3:28).
“They will make known to you all things which are happening here”
The “they” in this sentence are Tychicus and Onesimus. They will tell the Colossians about what has happened to Paul and his colleagues in Rome. They will update the church at Colosse on Paul’s health, his prospect of release from jail, and something of his hopes for the future.
There is transforming power in the gospel.
Onesimus was a man who proved himself. He was unprofitable in the past, but God made something of him.
God will transform your life if you respond to the gospel, as did Onesimus. Are you fed up with your life? Have you tried psychological techniques, new age, and other self-help systems? Why not give Jesus a crack in your life?
All you need to do is to acknowledge that you have violated a holy God and believe that Jesus paid the price for that violation (Rom. 4:5). God will then transform your life.