2 Timothy 1:16-18
The Lord give mercy to the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain:
In contrast with the Asiatic deserters, he dwells upon the kindly sympathy of one Asiatic Christian whom he had long known at Ephesus.
I. THE KINDNESS OF ONESPHORUS. "He oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain: but, when he was at Rome, he sought me out very diligently, and found me."
1. The apostle, as well as Timothy, had had an earlier experience of this good man, who was probably an Ephesian merchant, who went from time to time to Rome to do business, for he says, "In how many things he ministered at Ephesus, thou knowest very well."
2. He did not probably come to Rome from Ephesus for the special purpose of visiting the apostle, but, having found himself there, he made it his business to visit the apostle.
(1) He took pains to find out the apostle. "He sought me out very diligently." Why was it so difficult to discover the prison in which the apostle was confined? There were many prisons in Rome, and he may have been transferred from prison to prison. But where were the Roman Christians who met the apostle on his first visit to the city, that they could not inform Onesiphorus of the place of the imprisonment? Had they too turned away from him? Or had Nero struck an unworthy terror into their hearts? Onesiphorus persevered, however, in his search, and found him in his prison.
(2) He "oft refreshed the apostle, and was not ashamed of his chain." This implies
(a) that he visited him more than once;
(b) that the imprisonment, though severe, did not quite debar all access to the outside world;
(c) that the Christians at Rome were impliedly ashamed of the apostles' chain, else such prominence would not have been given to the kindness and courage of this noble Ephesian saint.
II. THE RETURN WHICH THE APOSTLE MAKES FOR THE KINDNESS OF ONESIPHORUS. "The Lord give mercy to the house of Onesiphorus... the Lord grant unto him that he may find mercy of the Lord in that day." He cannot make any other return for kindness than a fervent prayer for Onesiphorus and for his family.
1. The prayer suggests that though the apostle is shut up from the world, the way to heaven is still open. He cannot pay his visitor the compliment of seeing him to the door, but he can remember him at a throne of grace.
2. He remembers the household of this good man. What blessings descend upon householders who are blessed with such a head! The apostle prays for "mercy" on this happy household. Every blessing is included in the term.
3. The prayer for Onesiphorus himself is likewise a prayer for mercy. Some have inferred that he was now dead, and that we have here an example of prayer for a dead man. The supposition is entirely gratuitous. Onesiphorus may have been absent from Ephesus, as he necessarily was on his visit to the apostle. Besides, his visit to the apostle, must have occurred only a very short time previously, for it is admitted on all hands that the apostle's last imprisonment was very brief, and it is rather improbable that Onesiphorus should have died immediately after his visit to Rome, or that the apostle should have heard of it. Oncsiphorus would have the blessing promised by our Lord in the memorable saying, "I was in prison, and ye visited me." - T.C.
Parallel VersesKJV: The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain: