Saturday, May 13, 2017

PAUL'S TEAM--by Linden Malki

The Bible is full of people.  There are over 3000 people mentioned in Scripture; over 400 are women. it's easy to get bogged down in lists of people, but I have found that the more you read, the more you are likely to find out more about all these people, as you run across multiple mentions of the same people. I also consider the overwhelming numbers of people to be an indication of authenticity--who would have made up all these folks?  And the Bible is honest about them--they are real people, some bad, some good, mostly both. It's encouraging to see how many of them were changed by their encounters with God and His people. And some were judged and found irretrievably guilty; I'm inclined to believe they really were that bad.

Even stuck in a Roman prison, Paul was concerned about the people he had known and served with for more than 20 years. Some of the people he mentions are familiar ones, some not. It's interesting how much we do know about some of them--from multiple sources in various contexts and places.  I thought it would be interesting to look at the extraordinary people that were on Paul's mind and heart as he is facing his own martyrdom:

Demas from Thessalonika in Greece was with Paul in Rome during his first imprisonment and is mentioned in the letters to the Philippians, Colossians and Philemon, but he abandoned Paul and returned home.

Crescens is traditionally believed to be from Myra, on the southeast corner of today's Turkey.  Paul apparently sent him back to Galatia, a province in this area.

Titus was a Greek from Antioch, who is believed to have been a secretary and courier for Paul on several occasions. He was with Paul in Jerusalem, sent as messenger to Corinth, was one of those collecting the offering for the Jerusalem church. He became the bishop of Crete; in 2 Timothy, Paul has sent him to Dalmatia, on the west coast of the Balkan peninsula.

Luke was from Antioch: either a Greek or Hellenic Jew (a Jew with a Greek education) who joined Paul in Troas and recorded several journeys with Paul.  He is traditionally believed to have been with Paul during his virtual imprisonment in Caesarea, and to have been acquainted with Mary and others familiar with Jesus' ministry in Galilee.  He was also in Rome with Paul during the last imprisonment. He is believed to have died at the age of 84 in central Greece.  He is credited with the Gospel of Luke as well as the book of Acts of the Apostles, and he is considered a well-educated and talented historian.

Mark is said to have been born in Libya, but we first see him when his widowed mother's house in Jerusalem became a gathering place for the early church and may have been the Upper Room used by Jesus and his disciples. He became a protege of Peter, and became acquainted with Paul through Barnabas, his uncle. He was apparently in Ephesus with Timothy at the time 2 Timothy was written.  Church tradition is that he became the leader of the church at Alexandria, where he was martyred by pagan crowds. His Gospel is believed to be based on the teaching of Peter.

Carpus of Troas, a major port city north of Ephesus, had probably hosted Paul who left a cloak.

Tychicus of Chalcedon and his companion Trophimus the Ephesian accompanied Paul at the close of his third missionary journey and traveled with him from Greece, through Macedonia to Jerusalem.  Tychicus had been in Rome, and Paul sent him to Ephesus; Trophimus was left, ill, in Miletus.  Tychicus is listed as the first bishop of Chalcedon, on the Bosporus near the Black Sea. 

Prisca (Priscilla) and Aquila were Jews expelled from Rome by the Roman Emperor Claudius who ended up in Corinth. Paul lived with Priscilla and Aquila, who were also tentmakers, for approximately 18 months. They travelled with Paul as far as Ephesus, settled there and were teachers in the church..
Onesiphorus, a Christian from Ephesus, had sought out Paul when he was imprisoned in Rome, and possibly saved his life.

Erastus was a Christian from Corinth, where he was a high civic official; he may have become a leader in the Jerusalem church.

Eubulus and Pudens were apparently active in the church in Rome, but nothing else is known about them.

Linus, an Italian from Tuscany, is listed as the second bishop of Rome, after Peter's death. He was martyred in 76 AD, and was buried next to Peter.  Claudia was probably his mother.

In Jewish law, the testimony of two people is true; we find Jesus sending out his disciples in pairs, and Paul normally travelled with at least one other person. Following Jesus is not a one-person responsibility! Paul’s story is just a small idea of people working together for God’s glory. 

No comments:

Post a Comment