Does the name Onesiphorus mean anything to you? Probably not in a personal way… But if you’d had the privilege of a personal conversation with Apostle Paul late in his life – in prison in Rome, just before his martyrdom – He’d have told you just how much this guy and his entire household (probably meaning the members of the church that met in his house) meant to him!
Here’s what Paul had to say about it in 2 Timothy…
“You know that everyone in the province of Asia has deserted me, including Phygelus and Hermogenes. May the Lord show mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, because he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains! On the contrary, when he was in Rome, he searched hard for me until he found me. May the Lord grant that he will find mercy from the Lord on that day! You know very well in how many ways he helped me in Ephesus!” (2 Timothy 1:15-18)
People who help others – especially older saints – in their time of loneliness and need are very special! Their concern is like a “cup of cold water” on a hot day to a parched throat! It’s like the healing hand of Jesus extended – more than that – it’s like His loving presence, His comforting voice in their time of deepest need. Not only did Onesiphorus get involved in helping Paul… his entire “household” (likely implying his congregation or the “church” that met in his house) ministered to his need! They were “the body of Christ” in Paul’s deepest need. How did Jesus Himself say it… “As you have done it to the least of these, you have done it to Me!” (Matthew 25:40, 45) How did the old gospel song put it… “Oh to be His hand extended!”
Oh what a challenge! What an honor to be an “Onesiphorus” kind of person (or a member of his household)! Gotta tell you… I want to be one! And as passionately as I want to be a member of his household… I want to avoid like the plague being like those in the province of Asia… especially like Phygelus and Hermogenes who forsook Paul in His time of need… ashamed of him… ashamed of the gospel (see 2 Timothy 1:8)!