Thursday, February 23, 2006



Philemon 1-25


During the past week the fate of 'The Bali Nine' has featured on news broadcasts around the world. These young people (the youngest is only 19)

are convicted drug smugglers/'mules'. Question: As you look at these 'criminals' what is your Christian response?

I'll leave that up in the air for the moment...


The Story

A young man decided to run away from ‘home’. The main problem: Onesimus was a slave, and if he was found the penalty was usually death by public execution - often by crucifixion. He would have known that. And how would he live in a strange place? He decided to steal some stuff from his master Philemon, and away he went.

Like so many other fugitives, Onesimus made his way to the anonymity of a big city (Rome?) and there, by coincidence – or was it Providence? – he came into contact with an old man, a prisoner, Paul the apostle, and under his influence was genuinely transformed by the grace of Jesus Christ.

They would have talked about many things, including: ‘What do I do about my crime, now that I’m a Christian?’ I can hear the old man say ‘Onesimus, that’s a good question. Why don’t we pray about that tonight; come back in the morning and we’ll decide something together.’

Next day, after their discussion, Paul wrote this letter to Philemon. It’s shortest book in the Bible, and the only private letter to get into the New Testament. And there are at least ten important lessons about Christian wisdom embedded here…



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Rowland Croucher


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