Onesiphorus of Ephesus
2 Timothy 1:16
The Lord give mercy to the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain:

The man who now steps upon the scene does not reappear. One Epistle only mentions him, and in the Acts his very name is unrecorded. Let us mark, however, what letter it is which contains these references. It is the last of all the Epistles of Paul, written during his second imprisonment, and not long before his death. He is again at Rome, but not, as on the former occasion, in his own hired house, with liberty to receive whom lie will, and to speak all that is in his heart. Cold, and worn, and ill, Paul the aged lies in his prison cell; and, of all his many companions, only Luke is with him now. So it happens that the very epistle which is full of the moat, heroic confidence in Divine protection, is marked by the tenderest yearings after human sympathy; and the heart of the apostle is swayed like the sea before the rough wind of unkind desertion, and again under the soft breeze of faithful solicitude and care. Onesiphorus, it is clear, was an Ephesian; for Timothy was at this time resident at Ephesus, and there this man's household dwelt. There, then, Paul and he had made acquaintance, during the long-continued campaign of the apostle in the city, now ten years ago. That earlier time is not, forgotten. Every one knew, and Timothy had often heard, of what value his friendship had been. His house was one of the many which had opened to Paul and made him welcome. Children were there, now grown to manhood, who were taught to run to the door at his approach and to draw him joyfully in. Years passed, and they had not met. Business of some kind brings Onesiphorus at last to Rome. Paul is at Rome too, a prisoner, in close confinement, and it is not easy to get access to him. "No man stood by me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it be not laid to their charge." This good Ephesian, however, is made of sterner stuff. He applied to the brethren, and, to his astonishment, they have nothing to tell about the apostle. He goes to the government offices and inquires there; there information is scornfully refused. He makes his way, nothing daunted, to the prisons, and gets referred from one jailer to another, till he is almost tired out; but he perseveres, and at last here is a man who can tell him. But does he know the risk to his own liberty, perhaps to his own life? He knows; he is prepared to face it, if only he may see Paul. "He sought me out very diligently, and found me" — found the solitary old man. with the chains on his hands, and the damp, dark prison walls round him. What a meeting must that have been! Sunshine pouring into the mouth of a cave is a poor emblem of what the sight of that brave and cheerful countenance must have been to Paul. It was not, then, in vain, that Jesus had left the word on record for His disciples, "I was in prison, and ye came unto Me." Christian sympathy will find a way through every difficulty, and a key for every prison door. Paul has no silver or gold to give; he is so poor that he cannot buy a cloak to keep off the cold; but he has something to be prized far more — A good man's prayers. Those prayers he offers both for Onesiphorus himself and his family. "The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus." "The Lord grant it unto him." Nor is it Onesiphorus alone for whom Paul would pray. Let his household, too, be saved. Those sweet children, to whom he had so often spoken of the love of Jesus; those faithful servants, who had their master's example to guide them; the kinsfolk, who came to visit him; may they all be bound in the bundle of life with the Lord their God! See how great the blessing is of belonging to a godly home. Onesiphorus has been abundantly recompensed in time and in eternity for all that tie had done and dared for Paul. Need we fear to be overlooked? We have the servants' prayers, We have the Master's promise. "Whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward."

(W. Brock.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain:

WEB: May the Lord grant mercy to the house of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain,

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