Have you ever felt that you don’t have an equal standing inside of your community.
You are always on the outskirts looking in. You hope that you may find a foothold of belonging, but transgressions keep up a fence between you and the rest of them.
Your faith is of equal latitude, and your service is outstanding. Prayers are constantly on your lips, but you are looked down upon because of this reason or that finger-pointing. You have scuffed the ground too much, ate the wrong foods, or your clothes are slightly too tight. Sins of the past that are long forgiven seem to be what’s reflected on your face when they look at you. All seems hopeless even though your freedom has been bought. What do you do?
We need an advocate, a person to speak up and step out for us. A friend with personal knowledge needs to come along side us and give a testimony of our repentance and extend a few credentials.
Paul called for reconciliation between Onesimus and his master Philemon. He presented credentials of faith and spiritual growth calling for Philemon to recognize his servant as an equal in the eyes of God. Paul said that the Messiah is in all believers and for all believers. Reconciliation was a must.
2 Corinthians 5:19 NIV that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.
If reconciliation was not to be made by these terms, Paul demonstrated the meaning of the cross through his next actions.
Philemon 1:17-19 So if you consider me a partner, welcome him as you would welcome me. If he has done you any wrong or owes you anything, charge it to me. I, Paul, am writing this with my own hand. I will pay it back
Paul is willing to pay the price for the freedom of servant from his master so that they could be equals in Christ. The value of a person is not defined by financial gains or level of service, but by God’s mercy through Jesus.
Paul also goes on to tell his friend Philemon that he has confidence in what he chooses. He believes that Philemon will do what is right in the sight of God and for his brother in Christ.
What an advocate Paul became to his brothers and sisters.
How we must long to have a friend such as him. We don’t need a friend just when we are outsiders, but we need one in the everyday routine. How we long for a sister to call up and pray with us through down times. A brother to help us with the big stuff is someone who would be a treasure.
How our very human hearts long for such community. However, we do have something greater than community with people. We have community with the one true advocate through the Spirit, Jesus. He fights for us and vouches for us. He knows our hearts and has set us free. We no longer have the stronghold of being an outsider. Our community is with Christ.He knows our hearts and has set us free. We no longer have the stronghold of being an outsider. Our community is with Christ. Click To Tweet
John 15:15 NIV I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.
What a friend we have in Jesus.
Please join me as I blog through the Bible every Monday. If you are looking for a good reading plan for Holy Week, YouVersion has several short plans. I recommend reading the Gospel of John.