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More of the Team

by Esther Griggs

Paul continues to name those who have been important to his ministry as he finishes up his letter to the Colossians. He is aware of those God has placed around him. They haven’t all been easy relationships. In Colossians 4: 10-14, we read more of Paul’s team; those of the circumcision, Epaphras; a man of prayer, as well as Luke and Demas.

Those of the Circumcision

Aristarchus is in prison with Paul. When Paul was at Ephesus, he was one of his travel companions. As a result, when the city was in an uproar over the great goddess Diana, because of Paul’s ministry, this man was one that was seized and put in prison.

Mark was a cousin to Paul’s first missionary companion Barnabas, and though Paul had been disappointed in him as a young man, at this stage of his life, finds him a partner in ministry and tells the Colossians to accept him.

Along with these two, he mentions Jesus who is called Justus. Paul refers to Justus, Mark and Aristarchus as fellow workers for the kingdom of God. He also says they are of the circumcision and writes of how these men have been a comfort to him. It speaks to the unity of the body of Christ for Paul’s ministry was to the uncircumcised. Yet these men, who could have hated Paul for his opposing views, or blamed him for problems in the past, were providing strength to him through their common desire to build the kingdom of God.

Epaphras, A man of prayer

Epaphras is from Colossae. He is a servant of Christ and has been a prisoner for Christ. In his walk with Christ, he has learned to labor in prayer. Paul writes that he does it fervently. His concern is that his brothers and sisters in Colossae will stand “perfect and complete in all the will of God.” A man of great zeal, his concern extends also to those in Laodicea and the house church Nymphas conducts. God has placed the burden of prayer on this man.

Luke and Demas

We know Luke to be a physician. In 2 Timothy four, Paul writes that Demas has left him. We hear sadness in his tone as he relates that a love for the present world caused Demas to forsake him. He feels the loneliness around him and asks for Mark to be sent and for Timothy to come. Yet Luke is with him, in this most difficult time.

We think of Paul as the great apostle and consider the team God placed around him. Though some brought strength and comfort, some required patience and mentoring while still others caused great disappointment and discouragement. Even the Lord Jesus himself experienced this range in relationships. In Colossians 4:10-14 we have read more of Paul’s team; those of the circumcision, Epaphras; a man of prayer, as well as Luke and Demas.

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