12 Epaphras, who is one of your number, a bondslave of Jesus Christ, sends you his greetings, always laboring earnestly for you in his prayers, that you may stand perfect and fully assured in all the will of God. 13 For I testify for him that he has a deep concern for you and for those who are in Laodicea and Hierapolis (Colossians 4).
Four facts concerning Epaphras makes one wonder why Paul did not send him along with Onesimus, rather than Tychicus: 1) it was he who first gave the gospel to the Colossians in the first place (1:7); 2) like Onesimus, he too was “one of [their] number,” a Colossian; 3) he was so devoted to them, “always laboring earnestly for [them] in his prayers;” and 4) he had such “a deep concern for … those who are in Laodicea and Hierapolis”—neighboring cities of Colossae he could have also visited.
And yet, Paul had him remain with him in Rome. We’ll never know this side of heaven, but perhaps he believed Epaphras would be more useful by staying with him and praying for them to “stand perfect and fully assured in all the will of God.” He would kneel so that they might stand.
Lord, help us This Day to physically kneel in prayer on behalf of others (and ourselves) so that they (and we) might spiritually stand strong.