Jesus’ Love for Little People by Gerald Van Horn
These are not little people because of their stature or insignificance. I call them little because they often worked in the church and received little credit on earth for their efforts. They were people of blessing. They held churches together many times. All around the world you will find others doing the very same thing. We honor these so called little people.
Phebe. Romans 16:1-2 “I commend unto you Phebe our sister, which is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea; that you 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 succor of many and of myself also.”
Phebe probably delivered the book of Romans to the church. She was a deaconess and was elected by virtue of her duties. Her duties were to attend to new female converts. She helped them get ready for water baptism. She also visited the sick and visited those in prison. She was a remarkable woman and served the early church as a great example to women every where. She proved that there were things women could do that men cannot do.
Pricilla and Aquila. Romans 16:3-5 “Greet Pricilla and Aquila my helpers in Christ Jesus: who have for my sake laid down their own necks; unto whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles. Likewise greet the church that is in their house.
She was often mentioned with her husband Aquila. Her name was always mentioned first. She was a great leader and along with her husband they made tents. Paul probably lead them both to the Lord. Paul lived with them for a time. They were devoted to Paul and put their lives on the line for him. They had a church in their home. They ministered and taught in Gentile churches.
Epaenetus. Romans 16: 5 “Salute my well beloved Epaenetus, who is the first fruits of Asia unto Christ.”
I appears that Epaenetus was the first convert for Paul in Asia. Paul was his spiritual mentor. Paul had fond memories of him. Many others were led to the Lord by Epaenetus.
Mary. Romans 16:5 “Greet Mary, who bestowed much labor on us.”
What a great statement to say about someone - “much labor.” There was not a lazy bone in this lady’s body as she labored for Jesus. She perhaps, was the mother of John Mark. She sacrificed much for Paul.
Andronicus and Junias. Romans 16:7 “Greet Andronicus and Junias, my kinsmen and my fellow prisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me.”
These two were probably husband and wife. They were converted before Paul was and may have witnessed to Paul. They were in prison at the same time that Paul was. It appears that they were well known among the Apostles. They were also related to Paul in some way.
Ampliatus. Romans 16:8 “Greet Ampliatus, my beloved in the Lord.”
We are not sure who this man is. We know that he was very dear to Paul. His name appears on a tomb in the catacombs.
Urbane. Romans 16:9 “Greet Urbanus, our helper in Christ.”
Urbane was a helper. Not only did he help Paul but he was instrumental in helping many in the church. Some believe that he was a lawyer.
Stachys. Romans 16:9 “Stachys, my beloved.”
Stachys was probably a farmer. Paul was indebted to this person. He may have provided food for the widows and orphans.
Apelles. Romans 16:10 “Greet Apelles, approved in Christ.”
Paul gives a great word for this man. “Approved in Christ.” There is not a greater commendation that can be given to anyone. He was tested severely for his testimony. He came through the fire just like the Hebrew children.
Aristobulus. Romans 16:10 “ Greet them who are of the household of Aristobulus.”
History records that this family were slaves. There was a house full of slaves.
Herodion. Romans 16:11 “Greet Herodion my kinsmen.”
Herodion was a blood relative of Paul. He was somehow connected with Herod’s family. Which is an indication that Paul was related to Herod. He was a member of the aristocracy and highly educated.
Narcissus. Romans 16:11 “Greet them that are of the household of Narcissus
who are in the Lord.”
This man is believed to be the secretary of Empire Claudis. He was the head of a large family. He appears to Paul to be marvelous man. History tells us that Nero made him to commit suicide in front of his family.
Tryphaena and Tryphosa. Romans 16:12 “Greet Tryphaena and Tryphosa, who labor in the Lord.”
These were two elderly sisters. The way their names appear they could have been twins. In laboring for the Lord they spend hours in witnessing for the Lord. It appears that they were not married.
Persis. Romans 16:12 “Greet the beloved Persis, who labored much in the Lord.”
Persis was from Persia. He is the only one on the list that Paul describes his labor as being “much”. Evidently he did more than his share in working for the Lord.
Rufus. Romans 16:12 “Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord, and his mother and mine.”
Rufus was the son of Simon of Cyrinus who carried the cross for Jesus. Paul says, “He was chosen in the Lord.” He had a grandmother and she was friends with Paul’s mother. Paul spent a lot of time in their home.
Asyncritus, Philegon, Hermes, Patrobas, Hermas. Romans 16:14 “Greet Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermes, Patrobas, Hermas and the brethern who are with them.”
This was an entire family. They were part of home church. Each was a leader in the church. They must of had a growing congregation.
Philologus. Romans 16:15 “Greet Philologus, Julia,Nereus and his sisters.”
His name means “ lover of the Word of God.” He was Bible scholar. His wife Julia worked with him. This was a another home church. His pastor, Nereus is also mentioned. The early church was a close nit family.
Olympas. Romans 16:15 :and Olympas and all the saints who are with them.”
This was the pastor Nereus’ sister in the flesh. They were meeting in her home as well.
These wonderful saints of old were dear to Paul and he took great pride in their efforts to spread the Gospel. They supported Paul in his missionary efforts. Now that He is about to die in Rome his thoughts go out to these who have served with Paul. They were his trophies for Jesus. In the church today there is a mighty host of these little people serving without reward.
“Great is their reward in heaven.”