Loyalty and Betrayal in the First Century
“Do your best to come to me quickly, for Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me and has gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, and Titus to Dalmatia. Only Luke is with me.”
Demas is probably not a name that most Christians are familiar with. He is not a famous Bible character but he did earn a measure of noteriety by being one of Paul’s co-workers. Paul mentions Demas in Colossians and the letter to Philemon. In both letters, it is clear that Demas was with Paul at the time the letters were being written and he even sent his own personal greetings, the First Century equivalent to a shout out. Demas is mentioned in the same breath with Luke and Mark, two of Paul’s closest companions.
The next time that Paul mentions Demas, however, everything has changed. Paul is on death row, waiting to be executed. Paul writes to Timothy and asks him to hurry to visit him before his inevitable martyrdom. Listen to what Paul says: “Make every effort to come to me soon, for Demas, having loved this present world, has deserted me…”
What a punch in the stomach that must have been for Paul! There is nothing worse than having a friend betray you and walk away from the faith at the same time. What led Demas to desert Paul when Paul needed him the most? Paul said it was because Demas “loved this present world.” What causes someone to love the world so much that they walk away from their faith and from a close friend? How can we be sure that we will finish this Great Race that we are running?
To be continued…
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