There salute thee Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus (Philemon 23).
The few bits of information we can glean about Epaphras make us want to learn more. Not only did Paul call him my fellow prisoner, as in our text, but also our dear fellow servant and a faithful minister of Christ (Colossians 1:7), as well as a servant of Christ (Colossians 4:12). He had been a member of the church at Colosse (one of you, 4:12) and had eventually become associated with the apostle Paul in his ministry in that region. He had brought word to Paul concerning the church while Paul was a prisoner at Rome, and had somehow, probably as a direct result, been imprisoned there himself.
He had brought a most encouraging testimony about the church to Paul, assuring him that the Lord bringeth forth fruit in Colosse, testifying of their faith in Christ Jesus and love in the Spirit (Colossians 1:6,4,8). Paul, in turn, sent word to the Colossians that he hath a great zeal for you (Colossians 4:13). Even though he was now in prison, he was always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God (Colossians 4:12).
Epaphras was a faithful witness and minister, strong in faith, great in zeal, fervent in prayer, loving in spirit, and willing to suffer for his faith. According to tradition, he later became a pastor at Colosse and eventually was martyred there.
Thats about all we know about Epaphras, that great hero of the faith, but his life would surely be an inspiration if we knew it all; and it will be a joy to meet him in the age to comeas well as a host of other faithful believers who have served the Lord in various times and places through the ages. HMM