Tychicus, the dear brother and faithful servant of the Lord, will tell you everything so that you also may know how I am and what I am doing. I am sending him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are, and that he may encourage you.
Peace to the brothers and sisters, and love with faith from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love (Eph. 6:21-24).
I wonder whether technology with its ease of communication would have killed real communication in Paul’s day as it has in ours. Have you noticed how much of our social skills we have lost since the advent of email and cell phones? How much easier it is to send an email, a Facebook, Whatsapp or text message than to talk to someone face to face! A group of kids (by that I mean teenagers!) can sit together in the same room and talk to each other via cell phone messages rather than sit and chat.
Families don’t know how to resolve their conflicts any longer because each member retreats to his or her room to sit behind the computer screen or to “talk” on their cell phones without uttering a word.
How different it was for Paul and his colleagues in their lives together as believers in Jesus. In two short paragraphs, he gives us an insight into the way the church across the Roman Empire did life together. It was not trouble for Tychicus to travel hundreds of miles, taking many months to carry a letter from Paul to the church at Ephesus. Paul was incarcerated in a Roman prison, or perhaps still under house arrest but he needed to communicate with his beloved churches in other cities.
There was no postal service and certainly no electronic mail or wireless communication. People were his messengers, people to people carrying information, love and encouragement from one group to another, from one individual to another. Just imagine what it cost Tychicus to go for Paul since Paul could not go himself.
People mattered. Paul was their spiritual “father”. He has risked a great deal to take the good news of Jesus to Ephesus which was the hotbed of witchcraft and Diana worship. The silversmiths were doing a roaring trade selling their images of the goddess Diana to the superstitious citizens of Ephesus. Paul’s message turned the city upside down, bringing the wrath of the business sector down on him. His life was in danger because of the response to the gospel.
Every new believer was precious to him. He loved and nurtured them like a father for three years and never forgot them when he moved on. Evangelism for Paul was much more than holding campaigns in city after city and then leaving the converts to be “followed up” by the churches in those cities. There were no churches. It was Paul’s job to care for them together with his fellow workers in the gospel. And care for them he did!
It was also important to the believers in Ephesus (and in the other cities to which the letter was sent) to get news of Paul in Rome. Did they know that he was once again a prisoner for his faith? Just as he has written to other churches to let them know what was happening to them and to encourage them to persevere in spite of persecution, so he also wanted the Ephesian believers to know his latest situation.
The gospel message was much more than an insurance policy for heaven. It was a way of life they lived together. Paul made sure that the people of God knew and cared about each other across the miles. They needed each other because the whole world was against them. He wrote to instruct and sent Tychicus to encourage so that they would remain steadfast in their faith and not waver because of the hardships they were enduring for their faith.
Paul also reminded them that they were eternally linked to a Father who loved them and a Saviour who died for them. Through Jesus, they had access to God’s grace which He freely gave to all and which enabled them to endure the trials and suffering of this life, and the peace which would keep them in whatever they were called to bear.
Nothing can ever take the place of these gifts which come from the Father through the Son. To be sustained by God’s grace and supported by His peace means far more than any outward so-called “peaceful” circumstances which are temporary and transient. God’s love would never fail them, no matter what. In that, they could rest as they loved Him in response.
Scripture is taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Have you read my first book, Learning to be a Son – The Way to the Father’s Heart (Copyright © 2015, Partridge Publishing)? You’ll love it!
ISN: Softcover – 978-1-4828-0512-3, eB978-4828-0511-6
My second book, Learning to be a Disciple – The Way of the Master (Copyright © 2015, Partridge Publishing), a companion volume to Learning to be a Son – The Way to the Father’s Heart, has been released in paperback and digital format on www.amazon.com.