hometown boy brings renewal
"You first heard [the gospel] and comprehended God's gracious intention through the instructions of Epaphras." —Colossians 1:6-7
Epaphras grew up in the ancient city of Colossae (Col 4:12). At some point, he traveled out of town and crossed paths with some Christians, who evangelized him and led him to conversion and life as "a servant of Christ Jesus" (Col 4:12). Epaphras then met St. Paul, who had never visited Colossae (Col 2:1). He and Paul became fellow missionaries and evangelists (Col 1:7).
After his conversion, Epaphras was sent to Colossae as a representative of Paul's missionary team. The people of Colossae had never known Jesus, but they did know Epaphras. Through his voice, they heard the gospel message of truth (Col 1:5), believed in Jesus, bore the fruit of disciples (Col 1:6), developed a vibrant "love in the Spirit" (Col 1:8), and established a lasting Church.
At some point Epaphras left Colossae and returned to Paul's mission. Nonetheless, Epaphras had a pastor's heart for them. He was "always pleading earnestly in prayer" that they would "stand firm,...be perfect and have full conviction about whatever pertains to God's will" (Col 4:12). He also prayed for the other cities in his home region, interceding solicitously for Laodicea and Hierapolis (Col 4:13). Finally, Paul was imprisoned (Col 4:10) with Epaphras (Phlm 1:23), but remembered the church at Colossae and wrote them the letter to the Colossians.
Be an Epaphras. Bring Jesus to your hometown.
Prayer: Jesus, give me Your heart of love for the people of my town, county, state, and nation. May I lead many of them to You.
Promise: "I will...proclaim the goodness of Your name before Your faithful ones." —Ps 52:11
Praise: Praise You, Jesus, for those who evangelized Epaphras! Without them, we wouldn't have the treasure that is the Letter to the Colossians.
Reference: (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)
Rescript: †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, February 11, 2009
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