Onesimus! One of the million-plus people in ancient Rome. Alone, hungry, dirty, thin, beat-up, scavenging through the rubbish heaps for just enough to survive another horrible day.
A criminal, runaway slave, a thief. Fit to be tied and crucified. There was no way out of this mess he created for himself.
Here is a sample of his thoughts: “As I walked further from the city I started to shudder and shake. I was overwhelmed with a feeling of dread. It was then that I remembered the other thing I had learned about this road. It was right along here, around 130 years ago, that a total of 6,000 slaves were crucified at once. They stood the crosses and performed the executions along this public road to make a statement to all the people of my class: “Obey your masters no matter what, and don’t even think about rebelling.” Crucifixion is the absolute most awful way to die; no one could ever accept such a fate. And here I am, a runaway slave, who is likely to join those 6,000 brothers if or when I get caught.”
But God moves in mysterious ways, his wonders to perform.
A people touched by this God came into contact with this lonely soul. Acceptance, love, forgiveness, grace, truth, and hope touched Onesimus like nothing else could. And with all eyes watching he is TRANSFORMED.
But there is a problem. The man who led him into this transforming relationship with Jesus had also, years earlier, led Onesimus’ master into the same. These two are now brothers in Christ but are in a “violent” relationship that must be reconciled. The letter of Philemon, in the Bible, was carefully planned, crafted, and sent – with Onesimus – in an attempt to spare Onesimus’ life and bring Christian reconciliation between Paul’s two sons. Remarkable!
Here us a review of the book:
I finished reading the Onesimus book you gave me. I read it pretty carefully over a period of a week or so.
I was very blessed by how much thought and teaching there is available in the very small book of Philemon. And I really appreciated the segments on the history and culture which provides the backdrop for Paul’s letter.
So kudos to you and the other authors; the book is very well done for the person who really wants to dig into the Scriptures. I also appreciated the straightforward direct manner of writing – not much clutter and plenty of thought-provoking information and observations. I also liked the layout of dealing with the story “on the surface” and then having a follow-up section of deeper understanding.
One thought that soon became paramount in my mind was that if there is that much to be gleaned from a single page of Scripture, I can only imagine how much more there is from all the rest of Scripture. That’s pretty exciting actually.