A New Testament Giant Killer

4 Dec

Did you know the New Testament tells about a giant slayer too? Metaphorically, of course. And in that sense, there were many and are many in these days as well. However, one stands out for me. He eventually became a church leader, but not until he faced his giant.

In the Old Testament, David faced his giant armed only with five stones and a sling. In the New Testament, Onesimus had as his weapon only a letter from Paul.

Onesimus had been a slave owned by Philemon. When he ran away, he stole from his master. He was part of Philemon’s wealth and possessions so running away was robbery. Given the distance between Colossae and Rome, we can assume Onesimus took something more to cover his traveling expenses. Paul doesn’t dwell on that issue. Perhaps Onesimus explained to Paul that he took with him nothing more than what he considered his own or what his master owed him. The law likely considered Onesimus and all that he owned as belonging to Philemon.

Through untold divine appointments, Onesimus meets Paul who is under Roman guard, and shares the gospel with him. Onesimus believes. Paul then sends him back to his master with a letter.

Put yourself in Onesimus’s situation. You are a hunted man. Possibly there’s a reward for your return, a price on your head. You face charges of being a runaway who has stolen from your master. Such men usually face severe punishment if caught. You have weeks to reconsider turning yourself in as you travel home.

I know I would be rehearsing what I would say. Possibilities play out to their end and wrestle with other possible outcomes. Will my master read the letter, or will he tear it up. Will he even see it, or will someone snatch it from me and throw it in a fire? At any port along the way, I could disappear into the crowd.

By faith, Onesimus killed the giant in his life. He presented himself and the letter to Philemon who responds as Paul prayed and expected he would. Onesimus’s victory benefits us still today as we read Paul’s letters. Onesimus co-labored in the church with his former master. He served Paul and the church in many ways, sometimes as a courier for Paul’s letters.

I hope you find encouragement along with me in the life of Onesimus the giant killer. Let’s go boldly into battle with our giants, armed with the weapons the Lord has given us. And by faith enter and enjoy the victory.

Our heavenly Father knows the end from the beginning. Do you remember a time when he asked you to face a giant in your life?

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