19 Now I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon so that I too may be encouraged by news about you. 20 For I have no one else like-minded who will genuinely care about your interests; 21 all seek their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. 22 But you know his proven character, because he has served with me in the gospel ministry like a son with a father. 23 Therefore, I hope to send him as soon as I see how things go with me. 24 I am confident in the Lord that I myself will also come soon.
25 But I considered it necessary to send you Epaphroditus—my brother, coworker, and fellow soldier, as well as your messenger and minister to my need— 26 since he has been longing for all of you and was distressed because you heard that he was sick. 27 Indeed, he was so sick that he nearly died. However, God had mercy on him, and not only on him but also on me, so that I would not have sorrow upon sorrow. 28 For this reason, I am very eager to send him so that you may rejoice again when you see him and I may be less anxious. 29 Therefore, welcome him in the Lord with great joy and hold people like him in honor, 30 because he came close to death for the work of Christ, risking his life to make up what was lacking in your ministry to me.
We’re halfway through our journey, but what a letter this is! Imagine reading these words and paragraphs from Paul and processing what he was sharing. If you need to refresh and catch up, do that now. (Philippians 1:1-2:18)
After his greeting and prayer, Paul had given a sort of missionary report in Philippians 1:12-29. “Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually advanced the gospel…”.
He then breaks away from that thought to encourage the believers to imitate the life of Jesus Christ. It doesn’t seem like just a marginal thought. It was essential to the rest of the ‘report’ he had begun. The recipients of the letter must understand how important it was to love each other well.
After his spontaneous hymn of praise to Jesus in Philippians 2;6-11, Paul continues his report. The concern of the Philippians for Paul’s well-being is obvious because they’ve sent people to minister to him. Maybe they were a bit discouraged that their beloved missionary was in prison, even fearful he could potentially receive a death sentence.
Paul informs them he is well, even thriving in the joy of the Lord. Mostly, he wants to spotlight the two people he’s sending back their way. As he describes them, it seems as though he’s describing the very characteristics he’s mentioned in his previous appeal to the Philippian believers. Do you remember the words of Paul in the earlier verses in the chapter? Does this verse sound familiar?
“For I have no one else like-minded who will genuinely care about your interests; all seek their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 2:20)
What a joy for Paul to not only encourage them to be like Jesus, but to also send them two people who will show them how! Don’t you love these guys he’s sending? I can only imagine Paul’s selfless longing for the believers at Philippi to be strengthened by Timothy and Epaphroditus. I can see why Paul prayed what he did in Philippians 1:9-11.
And what about the attitude of Epaphroditus?! He wasn’t grieving his own illness but was concerned that the Philippians were burdened when they found out he was sick.
Sweet sister, as you pause on this passage today, let this scene really sink into your heart.
Prayer is central to our ministry as believers in Jesus as we carry eachother’s burdens and intercede for one another. Our team is honored to share the work of praying alongside you!
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