I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, so that I too may be cheered by news of you. For I have no one like him, who will be genuinely concerned for your welfare. For they all seek their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. But you know Timothy's proven worth, how as a son with a father he has served with me in the gospel. I hope therefore to send him just as soon as I see how it will go with me, and I trust in the Lord that shortly I myself will come also.I have thought it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus my brother and fellow worker and fellow soldier, and your messenger and minister to my need, for he has been longing for you all and has been distressed because you heard that he was ill. Indeed he was ill, near to death. But God had mercy on him, and not only on him but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow. I am the more eager to send him, therefore, that you may rejoice at seeing him again, and that I may be less anxious. So receive him in the Lord with all joy, and honour such men, for he nearly died for the work of Christ, risking his life to complete what was lacking in your service to me.
Previously in this letter, Paul has been explaining to the Philippians the way that God has revealed Himself through His son Jesus. In this passage however, there seems to be a change in the tone of what he is communicating, talking about two men, Timothy and Epaphroditus, who he is going to send to them.Here Paul is wanting to encourage the Philippians to look at mature Christians who display Christ-likeness in order to learn from them. One way that God displays himself to the world is through the actions of the people who follow Him. As Paul has already explained, when we see Jesus we are changed and this change in our thoughts and words and behaviour demonstrates Jesus to other people. Paul wants to send Timothy and Epaphroditus to the church in Philippi so that they can be blessed and see more of Jesus through them.When he talks about Timothy, Paul says that he has a genuine concern for the welfare of the Philippians. He is not self centred but cares and looks out for others. This is something that God does in us, He changes not just our behaviour but our hearts to prefer others, rather than being so focused on our own wants and needs.The way that God works in our hearts to grow and mature us often involves pain and suffering. It is not often that progress comes from a context of comfort. Paul describes Timothy and Epaphroditus as a slave and a soldier, implying that they have experienced pain. Similarly, in Hebrews 5:8 we see that Jesus also learned obedience through suffering. Therefore, when we walk through difficult seasons we need to trust God that he is in control and He is working in us to grow and mature us.God also helps us to grow by placing people in our lives who can be examples to us. In our culture in Brighton we want to be original rather than conform to what others are doing.But, Oroverbs 8:27-30 says,‘When he established the heavens, I was there; when he drew a circle on the face of the deep, when he made firm the skies above,when he established the fountains of the deep, when he assigned to the sea its limit,so that the waters might not transgress his command, when he marked out the foundations of the earth, then I was beside him, like a master workman, and I was daily his delight, rejoicing before him always’.We see here that the Son reflects the Father. The Son only does what he sees the Father do. Therefore, if we are made in the image of God, we will all conform to something. In this passage we can be encouraged to surround ourselves with people who will point us to Jesus and help us to be more like Him as we do the things that they do. Like when the Philippians get to know Timothy, they get to know Paul and then they get to know Christ.