6th April 2019

Introducing Phoebe

“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.”
Matthew 5:14 (KJV)

Perhaps you don’t recall Phoebe, so let me introduce her to you. Actually, I’m going to use the Apostle Paul’s words as he introduces her to the church at Rome, because he knew her personally as a sister in Christ and is more qualified than myself. He writes, “I commend to you Phoebe our sister, which is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea: that ye receive her in the Lord, as becometh saints, and that ye assist her in whatsoever business she hath need of you; for she hath been a succourer of many, and myself also” (Romans 16:1-2).

You’ll notice that in his long list of people he greets in the remaining verses of this chapter, he mentions this lady Phoebe first. Even her name is significant—Phoebe means ‘A shining one’! What a shining Christian she was. Her home was in Cenchea, the eastern harbour of the City of Corinth, a busy trade centre and a town which was notorious for its sin and evil. Yet this is where she shone! Although Paul was not related to her by blood, he calls her ‘sister’ because both were born again into the family of God and thus became brother and sister. Apparently she was just about to set out on a journey to Rome, so this precious letter was entrusted to her care and she brought it safely to the Christians in Rome.

You probably noticed that the King James Bible uses the old word for one who serves and comforts others—Succourer—the Greek is ‘Prostatis’ and means ‘One who stands in front and protects’! Many weary and weak people took courage and found new strength when Phoebe came and stood in front to help and assist them. Paul, you will notice, says that she had also been a succourer of himself also. Wow! What a great and special lady she was—a shining light even in the City of Cenchrea, that dark and difficult place where she lived. Despite her difficulties, there she was obviously faithful, pleasant, cheerful, and Christ-like. I’m positive that many people trusted and loved this special lady as much as Paul did. This poses the question—“Am I that kind of Christian?” And if not, why not? Answers on a postcard please!

Great Father, thank you for preserving Paul’s special words of joy about Phoebe. Help us also to be blinding lights in a darkened world through your Spirit of power.

Study by Cliff Neill

About the Author:
Cliff Neill is an Elder in Grace Communion Church Luton.

Local Congregation:
Grace Communion Church Luton
Farley Hill Methodist Church
North Drift Way
Farley Hill

Meeting Time:
Saturday 10:30am

Local Congregational Contact:
Harry Sullivan
Phone: 01908-582222
Email: harry_sullivan@wcg.org.uk

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