This Week's Story

What if someone from Onesimus's hometown recognized him in Rome as a fugitive from slavery?

This Week’s Story relives American history and the Bible through brief inspiring stories presented on mp3 audio recordings and text for reading.

Onesimus: Capture Delayed,
part five

Onesimus’ hands clenched, but his feet walked with hope. I will not starve in Rome. Paul has given me a job! He stopped walking. There is also the awful possibility that a Christian from Colosse, Turkey might visit Paul and recognize me. My slave master is a Christian leader in Colosse. He sighed.

The next morning as he reported for his first day of work, a man walked in. Paul greeted him and said, “Epaphras, I would like you to meet my new friend and employee Onesimus.”

Onesimus stepped back quickly. Paul asked, “Onesimus?”

What should I do? I recognize this man. He has been in the home of my owner.

Epaphras smiled at him, “I am happy to meet you.”

Onesimus replied, “It is my privilege.”

Throughout the day he prepared foods for Paul and his guests. Paul told him, “You are welcome to stay this evening as I speak.”

Onesimus wanted to leave, but his body did not cooperate. “Thank you, I would like to stay.”

Paul spoke quietly, “I know that you have escaped from Philemon. Epaphras told me. Now we have more important concerns.”

That evening Onesimus listened to Paul share how Jesus arrested his attention. Paul was on the road to Damascus to arrest Christians. He intended to bring them back to Jerusalem in chains.

Suddenly a brilliant light beamed upon him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice using his old name, “Saul! Saul! Why are you persecuting me?”

Saul stuttered, “Who are you?”

“I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting! Get up and go into the city. You will be told what you are to do.”

The men travelling heard the voice, but they saw no one. Saul stood up, but he could not see. He was led to the city of Damascus and was blind for three days.

During this time Jesus told a believer in Damascus. “Visit Saul and lay your hands upon him. Then Saul will see.”

The believer protested, “I have heard that Saul has been authorized by leading Jewish priests to arrest every Christian in Damascus.”

Jesus declared, “Do as I say. I have chosen Saul to take my message of salvation to Jews and Gentiles and kings. I will show him that he will suffer for me.”

The believer went to Saul. “Saul, the Lord Jesus whom you met on the road to Damascus has sent me to you, so that you may regain your sight and be filled with God’s spirit.”

Paul was baptized. It pictured his faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus. It declared that his old life was dead. He would follow Jesus and live a new life.

Saul, soon known as Paul, began preaching in Jewish synagogues. Listeners were astonished at his change from hating Jesus and His followers to accepting Jesus as the Son of God. He powerfully used Scriptures from the Old Testament to show how Jesus fulfilled prophecies.

As Onesimus listened to Paul’s testimony, he wondered: Could it be true?

This is Barbara Steiner with an account which can be researched in the Bible in Acts 9, Philemon, Colossians; and in secular sources. Several details about Onesimus are not described in the Bible.

Part six comes soon.

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