Bible Society of South Africa

Co-workers in the kingdom – 26 September 2022

By Ben Fourie

Bible text(s)

11Joshua, also called Justus, sends greetings too. These three are the only Jewish believers who work with me for the Kingdom of God, and they have been a great help to me.

Colossians 4:11GNBOpen in Bible reader

Paul is on house arrest in Rome but far from being dejected. He is filled with joy over the news he received about the wellbeing of the church in Colossae. However, what does worry him is that he also received news of false doctrine. Therefore, he wrote this letter somewhere in the year A.D. 62–61 with the intention to strengthen their faith, “because we have heard of your faith in Jesus Christ and of the love you have for all the saints”.(Colossians 1:4, ESV) He also finds it necessary to warn them against “hollow and deceptive philosophy”. As we have already seen in letters of Paul to other churches, this false doctrine is mostly about rituals like circumcision, religious festivals, what kind of food could be eaten and what was seen as unclean.

Paul used Tychicus as his messenger to deliver the letter to the Colossians. He also sent the runaway slave, Onesimus, back to his owner Philemon. We read this story in the letter of Paul to Philemon. Paul also sends greetings from Epaphras, probably the founder of the church in Colossae. More greetings came from Aristarchus, Luke, the doctor and writer of the gospel, and Demas. Along with all these people, he specially mentioned Mark and Jesus, who is called Justus. This was John Mark, the cousin of Barnabas, who wrote the “Gospel according to Mark” and accompanied Paul on his first journey.

Why are these names and people so important? They are all co-workers in the kingdom of God. They suffered many hardships when travelling with Paul; they were often in danger and were persecuted by the Jews. Mark and Justus were Jews and probably suffered persecution and the scorn of their own people even more than the others, but they stayed with Paul and comforted him.

The kingdom of God certainly needs courageous workers today; ordinary people like you and I, people who are willing to go on proclaiming his kingdom and the salvation through Jesus Christ, no matter what.

Prayer: Dear Lord, although I might not be able to go on missionary journeys like Paul and his co-workers, please use me to proclaim your kingdom where I live and work. Amen

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