25 But I think it is necessary to send back to you Epaphroditus, my brother, fellow worker and fellow soldier, who is also your messenger, whom you sent to take care of my needs. 26 For he longs for all of you and is distressed because you heard he was ill. 27 Indeed he was ill, and almost died. But God had mercy on him, and not on him only but also on me, to spare me sorrow upon sorrow. 28 Therefore I am all the more eager to send him, so that when you see him again you may be glad and I may have less anxiety. 29 Welcome him in the Lord with great joy, and honor men like him, 30 because he almost died for the work of Christ, risking his life to make up for the help you could not give me.
Epaphroditus was a part of the Philippian church and had been sent by them to Rome to bring some things to Paul and to help Paul in any way he could. Evidently, he got very ill while in Rome – almost to the point of death. He recovered and Paul was sending him back home – not because he was “quitting” or giving up on serving in the ministry, but because Epaphorditus longed for them and Paul knew the people in Philippi were distressed over his condition. This would encourage the Believers at Philippi, and thus encourage and bring joy to Paul.
Paul commended Epaphroditus highly; “honor men like him because he almost died for the work of Christ.” Epaphroditus risked his life to help Paul and the ministry God had given Paul. One of the ways he risked his life was by being associated with Paul who was still a prisoner. In Rome, If you associated with a prisoner you were not trusted and were thought to be a co-conspirator with that prisoner. It was not unusual for someone in this situation to be arrested too; just on the suspicion that came with their association with a certain prisoner. We don’t know a lot about Epaphroditus, but Paul praised him highly for his willingness to “RISK “ his life for the cause of Jesus Christ.
That’s a great thought to ponder: what would you or I do to RISK our life for the cause of Christ? Would you risk your reputation – your social standing in the community – your possessions – your freedoms – even your life? There’s no greater cause to invest your life in! Let’s be risk-takers for Jesus Christ. In addition – let’s pray for, encourage and give honor to the men and women who do put everything on the line for Christ and His cause!