Greet Mary, who bestowed much labor on us.…
This passage furnishes an interesting illustration of the Christian love of those early days, and how the gospel knit men's hearts together across the earth at a time of the world's history when the intercourse of man with man was small, and travelling dangerous, laborious, and slow. Yet the number of names mentioned shows how largely, even then, the tenderness of Christian love could draw heart to heart, and unite even personal strangers in a true brotherhood.
I. The phrase "in Christ" implies THE ATTAINMENT OF SAFETY IN CHRIST. The language is founded on the idea of a refuge, as if a man surrounded with foes and in danger of his life should fly to some stronghold, and be in safety. It may be that the devil attacks you with some strong temptation; it may be that God has visited you with solemn convictions, and you know not where to find peace. It may be that life is slipping swiftly by; health failing you, death drawing near, whither shall you look for help? There is but one refuge; one, where the power of sin will be broken; one, where the tormenting sense of guilt will be removed by the atoning blood of Christ; one, where declining life will cease to alarm you, where death itself will lose its fears.
II. The words "in Christ" imply UNION WITH CHRIST. Here the living idea which naturally occurs is that of a vine branch, living by union with the root arid partaking of its life, just as our Lord said, "Abide in Me. He that abideth in Me, the same bringeth forth much fruit." Here we take a step farther than mere safety. It is not from the punishment of sin alone we need to be saved, but from the stain of its pollutions. Why, what is religion but life? and life is joy. There is joy in the state into which we enter when we become children of God, and look up to the great Being who made the heavens and the earth and all things therein, and call Him with happy confidence, "Our Father, which art in heaven." It is not all over with us when we die; the best is to come in the cloudless heaven prepared for those who love God.
III. To be "in Christ" implies THE REST OF THE SOUL. when it has found Him, and the satisfaction with which it dwells content in Him. Here we have the idea of search. Like the merchantman in search of goodly pearls, we look for the object of our desire in every direction, and pursue eagerly our search till, in some happy moment, we find the precious thing for Which we are seeking, and then we rest. It would be as easy to satisfy a man with the playthings of a child, as to satisfy with things perishing a soul that will live for ever. We search and are disappointed. How often in common life we use the phrase of a person or of a thing that has disappointed us, "I did not find what I expected in him or in it? But we may find all in Christ.
Parallel VersesKJV: Greet Mary, who bestowed much labour on us.