14 Luke, the dearly loved physician, and Demas greet you. 15 Give my greetings to the brothers in Laodicea, and to Nympha and the church in her home. 16 When this letter has been read among you, have it read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and see that you also read the letter from Laodicea.
Paul uses his closing to send greetings. These greeting are for those whom he loves deeply.
Paul mentions two individuals here that have a continued story (in 2 Tim 4).
Paul describes Luke as “dearly loved” while just mentioning Demas.
Paul desired this letter to be shared with the people belonging to the Laodicean church.
Church, for Paul, is the gathered body of Christ. Not a building.
Paul gives us an insight that early churches often met in homes, suggesting very tight knit koinonia community.
Applying verses like these can sometimes be difficult. One way to approach them is by seeking to learn more about the people or places mentioned. Take Luke and Demas for instance.
Luke was a beloved physician. His is attributed with writing the Gospel of Luke and Acts and Paul clearly has high regard for him. 2 Timothy, a letter written in a later Roman imprisonment, indicates that Luke stayed with Paul throughout his imprisonment, even when others left him (4.11). The word beloved (ἀγαπητός, for those who like Greek), means valued, dearly loved, prized, beloved. It is often tied to the word “faithful” (see Col 1.7; 4.7,9). Paul values Luke for his faithful service.
Demas is mentioned in the same passage in 2 Timothy 4 where Paul indicates that Demas deserted him because he loved (a different form of ἀγαπητός) the present world (4.10). This is a chilling reminder that being with someone doesn’t always mean that you are with them. Association doesn’t change your heart.
How is your heart today?
Do you tend to love the present world or value serving God and his people?
Help me to be a faithful follower of Jesus. Help me to recognize those around me who serve to the end out of their passion and love for You. Help my love to grow for You both in knowledge and discernment that I may pursue what is best and honors You most fully, for Your honor and glory (Php 1.9-11).