After 6 months of expository preaching I finally finished Paul's letter to the Colossians. On Wednesday I spent 40 minutes preaching concerning 7 names out of about 10 names mentioned by Paul in his concluding remarks and greetings. Amazingly there is plenty of theology to mine when looking at these co workers of Paul.
First, Tychicus, the letter's sender. It is clear Paul was fond of him calling him with three ascriptions, a beloved brother, a faithful minister and fellowservant in the Lord (4,7). He was sent to the Colossians not just
as letter bearer but as a personal envoy of Paul to know your estate and comfort your hearts, says Paul. Tychicus was supported by Onesimus, a slave and Paul's convert in prison but now as faithful and beloved brother. Let everything be established by two or three witnesses, Paul would say elsewhere in 1 Thess. Aristarchus, a fellow prisoner most likely a close coworker who was prepared to enter prison with Paul. It seems in principle Paul would avoid prison for himself especially his colleagues whenever that was possible. But Paul clearly appreciated Aristarchus' companionship in prison just as Silas was with Paul in a Phillipian jail. Then Mark, Barnabas' nephew was commended and Colossians exhorted to welcome him. Obviously Mark had moved on from his previous lack of commitment at least from Paul's perspective but is now reconciled with the apostle. Luke the physician always a faithful companion of Paul is also mentioned alongside Demas who later forsook Paul for the love of the world. Paul had a group of faithful coworkers who struggled in the ministry with him. People around Paul were loyal to him and he to them. Paul was no lone ranger though he was often alone in his sufferings what is lack of the body of Christ. They were in more sense than one comrades in arm for the cause of the kingdom of God.