Missouri motorists who experience a breakdown can call *55 to get a friendly patrol officer who will provide them assistance.
Across America, most states provide some version of this program. However, what happens when we wind up in the breakdown lane in life? What number do we dial then?
Paul found himself in a breakdown lane. Emperor Nero was determined to stop the burgeoning Christian faith, and Paul was one of his targets. Imprisoned in Mamertine prison in Rome, Paul was abandoned by his friends and at the end of his ministry. He was alone and in need of assistance.
Paul found his friendly patrol officer in a companion named Onesiphorus.
In 2 Timothy 1:16-18 Paul relates three ways Onesiphorus rescued him during his prison experience.
Onesiphorus was not ashamed of Paul’s chains.
The early Church was still in its infancy. Rome was very powerful. Many early believers saw Paul’s situation as an ugly blight that reflected badly on them. Not Onesiphorus. He found time for Paul even as he was bound in the vilest of situations.
Onesiphorus searched for Paul until he found him.
The type of Roman prison Paul was in was literally a hole in the ground. Located near the Forum, it was 700 years old and entered and exited through a manhole. What little light there was came from the small opening or torches burning inside.
No one wanted to visit those in a Roman prison, except one diligent friend, Onesiphorus.
Onesiphorus maintained a long-standing relationship with Paul.
Paul and Onesiphorus originally met on the Via Sebaste. Onesiphorus and his wife Lectra invited Paul and his companions to reside with them for a time. Over a decade, a bond was formed between the two men.
Even Paul’s debasement as an enemy of Rome couldn’t sever the ties of friendship between the two men.
When a Christian Brother’s life has been sidelined by the trials of our human condition, we can become their *55. As Jesus searched us out in our sinful condition, we must search out our Brothers in their need, and we must maintain the ties that bind.
Jesus never abandons us, and we cannot allow ourselves to abandon those around us.
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