For indeed he was sick nigh unto death: but God had mercy on him; and not on him only, but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow. Philippians 2:27 (KJV)
Epaphroditus, whose name means, ” lovely,” was sick, astheneo. That is to say, he was weak, feeble, without strength, powerless and about to die. He was sick unto death, thanatos. That doesn’t sound to “lovely,” does it?
Paul did not want to lose this friend and ministry partner and, unlike Job’s comforters, sincerely cared about the well being of this man. Every Christian leader, whether a senior pastor or group leader should sincerely care for, and pray for, those God has placed along side them and in their care.
The love of God should flow freely between leaders and their charge. The weakness, infirmity or sickness of a fellow saint should give us “sorrow upon sorrow.” This word, lupe, which is translated, sorrow, also carries the meaning of that which is grievous and brings heaviness, even the grief and pain of one mourning. Oh, Beloved Saint, how God would have us bear one another’s burdens. We so need one another in this walk of Christian warfare and service.
The healing of Epaphroditus was seen as the mercy of God, eleeo. This mercy is a picture of the same compassion Jesus showed for the multitudes. While He was on earth, Jesus displayed the compassion, or mercy, of God. It is help extended to the afflicted that can be seen and felt. This compassionate concern should call us to prayer and intercession of the most passionate kind. This is the heart of God expressed through His chosen and called out ones.
Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power: 2 Thessalonians 1:11 (KJV)
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