If you’ve been reading along in our New Testament reading plan, you’ve just finished the book of Titus and will wrap up your Bible reading for the year with the short book of Philemon.
Congratulations for finishing! (Next year let’s read the entire Bible together. Look for posts here each Tuesday that align with the reading plan.)
The book of Philemon is actually a letter Paul writes to Philemon. In it Paul advocates for mercy instead of judgement for their mutual colleague, Onesimus. Onesimus deserves a stern dose of justice for running away, but Paul pleads for mercy instead.
This sounds a lot like Jesus and us. Our misdeeds demand judgement but Jesus offers mercy to everyone, but only those who follow Jesus can actually receive his mercy and grace. God’s Law demands justice, but his love gives grace. Jesus makes the difference.
The Bible doesn’t say if Philemon extends Onesimus the mercy he doesn’t deserve or demands the justice that he does, but I think Philemon sets aside judgement and justice to present mercy and grace—just like Jesus does for us.
Thank God for Jesus, for mercy, and for grace!
What do you think Philemon did after reading Paul’s letter? How would you have treated Onesimus?
Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.