“The Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain; but when he arrived in Rome, he sought me out very zealously and found me. The Lord grant to him that he may find mercy from the Lord in that Day—and you know very well how many ways he ministered to me at Ephesus.”2 Timothy 1:16-18. (NKJV).
Onesiphorus (meaning “bringing profit”or “useful”) was a Christian referred to in the New Testament letter of Second Timothy (2 Tim 1:16–18 and 2 Tim 4:19). According to the letter sent by St. Paul, Onesiphorus sought out Paul who was imprisoned at the time in Rome.
According to Wikipedia, “The persecution of Christians during Nero’s reign made Rome a dangerous city for Christians. Paul praises Onesiphorus for his hospitality, kindness, and courage. Onesiphorus is contrasted with the other Christians in Asia who have deserted Paul at this time.”
According to Orthodox tradition, Saint Onesiphorus was one of the seventy disciples chosen and sent by Jesus to preach. They were chosen some time after the selection of the Twelve Apostles (Luke 10:1-24). Saint Onesiphorus was bishop at Colophon (Asia Minor), and later at Corinth. Both the Orthodox and Catholic churches hold that he died a martyr in the city of Parium (not far from Ephesus) on the shores of the Hellespont.
Don’t ever call anybody “My best friend”until the friendship is tested. From my experience, true friends emerge during turbulence times. True friendship is usually uncovered during trials.
For example, Paul said, “This you know, that all those in Asia have turned away from me, among whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes.”2 Timothy 1:15. (NKJV).
It is possible that Phygellus and Hermogenes were among those who hailed Paul during good times. They told anyone who cared to listen that Paul was their man. They used his name to enter important places because he was popular. But the moment he was arrested and jailed, they desertedhim.
Many frontline ministers have experienced it many times. Some of the people they trusted with their lives betrayed them when their loyalty was needed most. The people they trusted so much joined their enemies to cast aspersions on them for filthy lucre.
Even Jesus Christ was betrayed. When Jesus needed His disciples the most,Judas sold Him, Peter denied, and others apart from John deserted Him. Everybody knows that Judas could do anything for money, what shocked me was the way Peter denied Jesus.
“Having arrested Him, they led Him and brought Him into the high priest’s house. But Peter followed at a distance. Now when they had kindled a fire in the midst of the courtyard and sat down together, Peter sat among them. And a certain servant girl, seeing him as he sat by the fire, looked intently at him and said, “This man was also with Him.” But he denied Him, saying, “Woman, I do not know Him.” And after a little while another saw him and said, “You also are of them.” But Peter said, “Man, I am not!” Then after about an hour had passed, another confidently affirmed, saying, “Surely this fellow also was with Him, for he is a Galilean.” But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are saying!” Immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had said to him, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” So, Peter went out and wept bitterly.” Luke 22:54-62 (NKJV).
Peter was one of the inner caucus members of Jesus’ ministry. While on earth, Jesus embarked on important trips with Peter, James and John. But here was His right-hand man denying Him at the most crucial moment. How can you say “Woman, I do not know Him.”? You do not know your friend because He was going through the most painful experience of His life?
I mean, how can you follow God to different crusades, saw how He healed people, delivered those who were oppressed by the devil and helped as many people as He could, and chose to desert Him when He needed you most? That was what Jesus went through while on earth.
If it happened to Jesus Christ it will happen to you.
Some people’s loyalty is tied to profit. As long as they are gaining something from you, they will always be there. As long as your name is opening doors for them, they will always be there. But when they discover that they can no longer gain anything from you, they will look for the next meal ticket.
Be Like Onesiphorus!
While people like Demas, Phygellus and Hermogenes deserted Paul, brother Onesiphorus stood with him. Paul said, “he was not ashamed of my chain.”
Paul’s praise of Onesiphorus is significant because it was written shortly before Paul’s death as a final encouragement to Timothy.
Paul said, “…but when he arrived in Rome, he sought me out very zealously and found me.”
I believe brother Onesiphorus remembered the good times. He remembered how Paul led him and others to Christ and nurtured them spiritually. And he went straight to look for his friend and brother in Christ. When he found him, he stood by him and probably provided whatever Paul needed.
I can imagine how emotional Paul was when he saw Onesiphorus. I believe he shed tears and said, “Brother Onesiphorus, you came all the way from Ephesus to look for me? As you can see, our brothers have deserted me. Oh, my brother! Thank you for coming.”It is possible that they embraced each other and cried on their shoulders.
That is the kind of friend you need. That is the kind of partner you need. That is the kind of wife you need. That is the kind of husband you need. That is the kind of Christian brothers and sisters you need. You need people who’ll love you not necessarily because of your results or exploits, but because they love and cherish you as a person.
Don’t forget this the rest of your life; satan is not our major problem. No external enemy can pull down Christianity. Some Christians are the enemy of Christianity.
Anytime a minister of God makes mistake, who spends a whole week criticizing and making mockery of him on the internet? Christians.
Anytime a church makes mistake, what group of people are usually at the forefront to pull the church down? Christians.
When a sister is yet to conceive after wedding, who tells her that the reason is because of her past lifestyle? Christians.
We are our enemy. Don’t get me wrong, we must tell people the truth when they make mistakes. But there is a difference between correcting people in love and outright castigation.
Everybody makes mistake. Even those who can go to any length to crucify people do worst things in the secret. I am sure you heard what the man whose number one job is to criticize ministers of God in Nigeria did with somebody’s wife recently.
Paul said, “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.” 1 Corinthians 10:12 (NKJV).
Be careful what you say to people when they are going through trials. Be careful how you spread the news of someone’s downfall. Remember, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.” Galatians 6:7. One day, someone might do the same thing to you.
The central theme of Christianity is love. Even when you are discipling people, do it in love. When someone does something crazy, do all you can to bring him back to the Body of Christ, not to send him to hell. Discipline him but help him to be fully restored.
Brother Paul said, “Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:1-2. (NKJV).
Your job is to help the brother or sister that is probably overtaken by sin, or is going through trials to be steadfast, immovable and be fully restored to faith. Don’t go about pontificating how something like that can never happen to you because nobody can predict what will happen tomorrow.
Brother John said, “By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” 1 John 3:16. (NKJV).
He implored us to replicate what Jesus did in John 3:16. Just like Jesus Christ laid down His life to save the world, go extra mile to help a brother or sister. Do all you can to make sure the devil and his agents do not celebrate the downfall of your brethren.
In conclusion, brother John opined again, “My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.” 1 John 3:18. (NKJV).
I pray that anyone who is going through the fires of life like Paul will find comfort in Christ and be supernaturally helped to conquer whatever it is from this minute in Jesus matchless name. Amen.
If you want to recieve Jesus into your heart, say this short prayer and believe it from your heart:
Lord Jesus, I belive that you died to rescue me from damnation. Come into my heart and save me. I declare today that You are my Lord and personal Saviour. I am saved. I am born again. Thank you Jesus. Amen.
What did you learn from today’s Bible Study? Share with others at the comment section below.