Commendation of Tychicus and Onesimus (4:7-9)
Greetings from Paul’s Friends (4:10-14)
Mark, or "John, whose surname was Mark", as he is called in Acts 12:12; 12:25; 15:37, was a servant of Christ and a New Testament writer. When we first read of John Mark, we find that his mother, Mary, opened her home up for a prayer meeting. Later in the same chapter, we find that Paul and Barnabas took John Mark with them on the first missionary journey. However, part way along the journey (when they reached the coast of Asia Minor), John Mark abandoned Paul and Barnabas. On account of this, Paul refused to take John Mark on the second missionary journey; "But Paul thought not good to take him with them, who departed from them from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work" (Acts 15:38). Barnabas disagreed with Paul, and the two servants were separated over the issue. Barnabas took Mark with him, and Paul took Silas. Evidently Mark was restored from his previous failures, and used in broader service (Col. 4:10). Mark was later used to write the gospel of Mark, which fittingly presents Christ as the Perfect Servant. Being shepherded by Peter may have had something to do with Mark's restoration (1 Pet. 5:13). In his second epistle to Timothy, Paul could say, "Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry" (2 Tim. 4:11). Mark is a testament to the fact that failures don't necessarily mean the end of our usefulness for Christ. Perhaps Mark was timid (like Timothy), but more likely his failure was publicly known, and so Paul "ordered" the Colossians to receive Mark if he visited Colosse.The third was a man named “Jesus” by birth (the same name as our Lord was given), but he was known by another name; “Justus”. It is possible that he, as well as the brethren around him, used a different name because the name of Jesus is a “above every name” (Phil. 2:10), and reserved for One alone. These three brothers of Jewish descent were not only “fellow-workers for the kingdom of God”, but they were the only ones that had been a special “consolation” to Paul in prison. Why would he say this? Wasn’t Epaphras also a consolation to Paul, and Luke? Yes, but these were a special consolation, perhaps because they were of the circumcision. Paul loved the Jewish people, and it was because of his love for them that he was in prison. Therefore, it was a special consolation that these three had been saved, and were willing to stand by him during his imprisonment.
- Luke: began well, and finished well.
- Mark: had an early failure, but was restored, and finished well.
- Demas: began well, but drifted away, and forsook Paul in the end.
Paul’s Personal Farewell (4:15-18)
- “…love counts on the interest of others in our affairs quite as much as it feels a real concern in hearing of theirs.” Kelly, W. The Epistle to the Colossians.
- Demas, I should gather, was even now distrusted by the Apostle, who mentions his name with an ominous silence and without an endearing word — a thing unusual with the Apostle. Even to Philemon, about the same time, he is “my fellow-labourer.” – Kelly, William. The Epistle to the Colossians.
- Another reason nothing critical is said of Demas in Colossians is that Paul refrained from naming bad characters in letters to assemblies, but felt free to do so when writing to individuals, such as Timothy.