Have you ever felt like an outsider?
Do you remember who Philemon and Onesimus were? Onesimus was a slave and Philemon was his master. Onesimus the slave had run away from Philemon and eventually found his way to the Apostle Paul. While with Paul Onesimus became a Christian, and now Paul wants him to go back home to Philemon.
Back to being a slave?
Not exactly. Listen to what Paul says to Philemon about Onesimus:
Philemon 17-18. 17 So if you consider me your partner, receive him as you would receive me. 18 If he has wronged you at all, or owes you anything, charge that to my account.
Paul is asking Philemon to treat Onesimus just as he would treat Paul. He asks Philemon to welcome Onesimus back as if he were Paul. And he tells Philemon to charge Onesimus’ debt to Paul’s account.
Paul is taking the place of Onesimus. He’s asking Philemon to see Paul when he sees Onesimus again. He wants Philemon to treat the slave Onesimus like he would treat the Apostle Paul.
What lesson is Paul teaching us here?
Paul is teaching us that as Christians we should treat everyone the same. That we shouldn’t treat people better or worse based on their place in the world. Christians shouldn’t label each other like the world does – slave or master, rich or poor, smart or stupid, cool or uncool. None of these labels should exist for Christians. We should treat the “slave” just like we would treat the “Apostle.”
But how can Paul just take Onesimus’ place like this? And why should Philemon listen to Paul?
Because Jesus took Philemon’s place on the cross. Philemon was a slave to sin that was rescued by his master Jesus. Jesus’ cross makes every single one of us equal. We all equally need the cross to save us. And we are all equally sons and daughters of God all with an equal inheritance in Heaven.
Do you treat everyone the same? Do you tell your friends to treat the other kids the same way they would treat you? Is there an “outsider” that you could invite into your group?
When we know that Jesus loves us no matter what, and that he has invited us into his group, then we can begin to do the same thing for others too.
Because of Jesus we have been invited into God’s great big group.
With Jesus we can invite others into our group.
DO SOMETHING TOGETHER
Talk about who you can welcome as a family. Make a plan to welcome/receive someone into your family this upcoming holiday season. Talk about how Jesus welcomes us into his family.
You have welcomed me into your group. Help me to welcome others into my group just as if they were you.
To see today’s post from the TLIC Daily blog –> Click Here