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Story of A Run away slave Paul’s letter to Philemon About Onesimus

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Presentation on theme: "Story of A Run away slave Paul’s letter to Philemon About Onesimus"— Presentation transcript:

1 Story of A Run away slave Paul’s letter to Philemon About Onesimus

2 Story that makes history Paul was a prisoner in Rome. He was waiting to appear before the Emperor. The Jewish temple authorities blew up the issue bigger than the trial of Jesus that took place before the Roman governor some thirty years ago. They could not accept a learned man – a staunch Pharisee such as Paul, to be a strong witness for Christ. Already the Jews were starting political agitations against Rome and the religious fanaticisms could result in the outbreak of a riot. And Paul was a great scholar born of a noble family – which they called in those –Roman citizen. So no other court can try him except the Emperor. Also the most dangerous criminals meant for death penalty also must be tried before emperor before being condemned. So Paul, was brought to Rome

3 Onesimus vs Philamon The Roman officials allowed Paul to stay in a rented house along with his friends and his helpers as Paul waited for two years to meet the Emperor. Rome was big city with millions of people from slave countries, traders scholars poor and the rich. One could be lost in the crowd and no body could catch a slave who ran away from his master from far away town of Colosse in Eastern Turkey and came to Rome where he was seen by fellowmen of Paul when they came to market to buy things. They brought Onesimus to Paul. What did Paul do?

4 Name and personality Philemon means –loving, kind person. But did he live upto that? Why was he cruel to Onesimus? The slave’s name was Onesimus which means useless. How often we use this word when referring to people or work done by them!. But when the slave worked for Paul and was returned to his master, he came with a new name Onesiporous meaning useful If Paul could do that how much more Jesus?

5 Cruel master Philemon was a church leader and a church was run in his own home. How could he be unkind or cruel to a slave to such an extent that he ran hundreds of kilometers and changed ships to come to far away Rome in Italy. May be he worked in the ship to earn his passage. But that was much better than working for his master!

6 A personal letter to solve a problem Was it a social problem –ancient and modern? Was it a Colour issue or cultural issue? Collosse was a town in – eastern Turkey - much different from Roman culture In the Greek regime which preceded the Romans the slaves were not treated as bonded labour but did even specialized jobs as architecture, shop keeping, handicrafts, accounting, farm management etc. Onesimus was raised in that culture. But Romans treated slaves cruely

7 Paul a prisoner Paul was a man of noble birth but was held as prisoner under false accusation. Under Roman law a man has rights to follow any religious practice he likes or chooses. Even a parent cannot force a child. But it was un tenable to the Jews. To them it was blasphemy worthy of death penalty. Paul was right in every way. He was a very learned scholar to understand what he believes. Was Onesimus right in his thinking? No! The master paid a price and bought the salve and so he must work.

8 Paul and me What would we do if we were in Paul’s position? We would have been angry with fellowmen for bringing in a run away slave The soldiers could find him and that will be more problem Already they were in prison and taking in a run away slave should invite more trouble It is not right to encourage a run away slave So we would have sent him back

9 Drive out or drive in? Paul did not drive out the slave nor did he ask why he ran away from the master but He welcomed Onesimus a guest and made him stay for some days What Onesimus saw with Paul brought transformations within Paul a noble man rich and educated was suffering in prison for no reason and he never complained man or God Even in his adverse situation he was helpful to others

10 Had Paul sent him away the slave could have been caught by the Roman soldiers ( as slaves bear a burnt scar mark) and sent to gallys as a bonded row man in the ships Or sent to the arena to fight with gladiators as people watch the fun To them the life of a slave was no better than a dog Or some one would have caught him and sold him in the slave market Did Onesimus realize the freedom he sought would land him in more danger?. People who find Christ and his teaching hard run into worldly pleasures not realizing the dangers they will have

11 More than kindness Paul paid a great price for the folly of the slave. He arranged the passage expenses for the slave and two escorts to take him safe. They had to travel long distance from Itay across Greece and then to Turkey and to the eastern province where Colosse was. The surprise was that Paul never visited that church but the fellowman Ephroditus established it. He and Timothy joined the long journey with Paul’s letter to Philemon

12 Letter or Magna Carta? Those days letters were written on leather parchment or Papyrus scrolls The scrolls were about 1.5 ft wide and length may even run to 15 ft. This was a small letter about the size of a bath towel So the three men carried it while Onesimus carried lot of weight and fear in his heart What would be the reaction of the master? Those days the run away slaves could even face death penalty

13 Silenced by surprise As the two men handed over the letter to Philemon Onesimus was fallen at the feet of the Master. As the master read thru the contents his heart was overwhelmed with emotion at the concern for a slave Paul the prisoner had. A man in bonds was asking for freedom of a guilty sinner And see what the price he paid for restoration!

14 The letter made a legend We don not know what happened later. But historians say that Philemon nailed the letter to the main door so that whenever the slave had a temptation to run away he would think of the price paid by Paul And he the master would also have to think how considerate he has to be to a slave returned back The greatest truth was when Bible scholars were compiling, they rejected many texts and scripts as unscriptural or irrelevant but could not throw away this letter which survived the ravages of time to finds its place in the word of God

15 To you If you have enjoyed reading this please forward this mail to some one else Please do not delete our Email ID or web ID as it will help many more to contact us Freely received freely give Copy this in pen drive and let children learn Bible truths in an easy way

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