Daily Devotions

God healed Epaphroditus, when sick nigh unto death!

Philippians 2:25f

‘Epaphroditus…ministered to my wants (in prison)…. He longed after you all, and was full of heaviness because…you had heard that he had been sick…. He was sick, nigh unto death. But God had mercy on him!… When you see him again…, rejoice!… Receive him therefore with all gladness!… For the work of Christ, he was nigh unto death — not regarding his life, to supply you!’ Philippians 2:25-30.

Calvin comments: “He (Paul) had already sent Epaphroditus, so that…while he awaited the outcome of his own affairs…, they (the Philippians) might not lack a Pastor who would take care that matters were properly managed. He recommends Epaphroditus by many titles…. Paul…might especially boast of his military service, inasmuch as he was exercised to an incredible extent in every kind of contest. He praises Epaphroditus, because he had been the comrade of his conflicts….

“‘He (Epaphroditus) had ministered to him (Paul) in prison’…. ‘He longed after you.’ It is a sign of a true Pastor, that…he was…concerned about his flock and longed for them…. ‘He was sick, night unto death; but God had mercy on him.’ He (Paul) had expressed the severity of the disease (that Epaphroditus had been so ill that his life was despaired of), in order that the goodness of God might shine forth more clearly in his restored health!

“It is…surprising that the Apostle should ascribe to the mercy of God, that Epaphroditus had had his life prolonged — when he (Paul) had previously declared that he himself preferred death!…. What would be better for us, than to remove to the Kingdom of God — delivered from the many miseries of this world?… It would be tedious to enumerate all the things which make death better and more desirable than life to believers!…. (Yet) all these things do not prevent this life from being, considered in itself, an excellent gift of God….

“Paul acknowledges…that the death of Epaphroditus would have been a heavy blow to him…. Paul had many other reasons for sadness in the death of Epaphroditus…. It is the case for all believers that, at the death of anyone, they are reminded of the anger of God against sin. But Paul was the more moved by the Church’s loss, which he says would be deprived of a good Pastor when the good were so few…. The presence of Epaphroditus was no small comfort to him.. Yet…to such a degree did he prefer the welfare of the Philippians to his own advantage, that he (Paul) says that he rejoiced at his departure — because it grieved him that…he was taken away from the flock committed to him….

“(When you see him [Epaphroditus] again…, rejoice!)… Receive him (therefore) with all joy!… He…recommends him (Epaphroditus) again to the Philippians…. All who approve themselves as good and faithful Pastors, may be held in the highest estimation!… He reckons the distemper of Epaphroditus among his virtues…. It certainly was a signal token of his ardent zeal…. Epaphroditus felt that his health would be in danger, if he applied himself beyond measure. Yet he would rather neglect his health, than fail in his duty!”

So God healed Epaphroditus, when sick nigh unto death!