Three Scriptures About Paul and Trophimus

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The statement of the Apostle in 2 Tim. 4:2020Erastus abode at Corinth: but Trophimus have I left at Miletum sick. (2 Timothy 4:20), "Trophimus have I left at Miletum sick," is a very suggestive one. The great Apostle of the Gentiles, who was endowed with the gift of healing, and who had healed so many, leaves his friend behind him sick.
When in the Island of Melita, he healed the father-in-law of Publius, the chief man of the island; but here we find he has to leave Trophimus at Miletum sick.
There was a needs be for this. God in His governmental dealings sometimes lays His children by. The Father finds it needful at times to put forth His hand in wholesome discipline.
It is often very good, very salutary, very necessary, to be left in the condition of Trophimus at Miletum. Nature does not like it, but we may be assured it is healthful. Trophimus had a lesson to learn on a sick bed at Miletum which he could not learn anywhere else, not even as Paul's companion in travel. The solitude, the prostration, the helplessness of a sick bed are often most profitable to the soul. The Spirit of God makes use of such things to teach us so the of our most sanctifying lessons. Very often it happens that a time of bodily illness is made the season of much solemn review and self-judgment in the presence of God. How needful are these things, but yet how much neglected amid the bustle of constant travel and intercourse with others!
It is instructive to contrast the position of Trophimus, in Acts 21:2929(For they had seen before with him in the city Trophimus an Ephesian, whom they supposed that Paul had brought into the temple.) (Acts 21:29), with his position in 2 Tim. 4:2020Erastus abode at Corinth: but Trophimus have I left at Miletum sick. (2 Timothy 4:20). In the former we see him in the streets of Jerusalem in company with Paul; in the latter we see him in the retirement of a sick chamber at Miletum. Now, it was his presence with Paul that roused all the bitter prejudices of the Jews, who imagined that Paul had brought him into the temple.
A Jew and an Ephesian in company was quite in harmony with Paul's gospel, but not at all so with Jewish prejudice. At Ephesus, Paul and Trophimus might have walked in company without exciting any suspicion; not so in Jerusalem. For a Jew and a Gentile to be seen together in Jerusalem was regarded as an open insult to Jewish dignity; it was a throwing down of the middle wall of partition, and boldly walking across the ruins.
For this the Jews were not prepared. They gazed upon the two companions with an eye of dark suspicion, and the strange companionship fanned that flame which so speedily burst forth with terrible vehemence around the beloved Apostle of the Gentiles.
Alas! one is disposed to say, that the two friends should be found in the streets of Jerusalem. Those streets were evidently not Paul's appointed sphere of labor. "Far hence unto the Gentiles" was the Master's word. But Paul would go to Jerusalem, and when there he could never refuse to walk in company with an Ephesian. He was too honest for that. He could not, like poor Peter, stand aloof from his Gentile brother for fear of the Jews.
But then, the ceremonies of the temple and the company of Trophimus could never be harmonized. Here was the difficulty. If the institutions of the temple were to be honored and maintained, then why this companionship with an uncircumcised stranger? If Paul and Trophimus were both enrolled as fellow-citizens of the heavenly Jerusalem, then why acknowledge in any way the old system of things?
These reflections throw a peculiar interest around the name of Trophimus. It is deeply interesting and instructive just to look at the three passages in which this name occurs.
Here the curtain drops upon him. Here he might calmly review the past. Here, too, he might confidently look forward into the future. He could no longer travel through Asia, nor tread the streets of Jerusalem in company with the most devoted and honored of men. He was an invalid at Miletum, and Paul was a prisoner at Rome; but both could, with undimmed eye, look upward to that bright and blessed world above to which they were both hastening, and where they are now safely housed.