“Tychicus will tell you all about my activities. He is a beloved brother and faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord. I have sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are and that he may encourage your hearts…: ~ Colossians 4:7-8
Explanation of the Text: The closing verse of Colossians reveal both Paul’s heart for people and gives insight into ministry through various people. On display are the relationships between people, with a love cemented in the bond of Christ, as they minister together for the sake of one purpose. We are first introduced to Tychicus. Little is known about Tychicus, but with the mention of him in various points of Paul’s letters, some information can be learned, especially about his character.
It is Luke who first establishes the presence of Tychicus, whose name means fortuitous or fortunate. In Acts 20:4, Tychicus comes onto the scene fromm Asia Minor, having become a Christian he joins the ministry of Paul and is with him to the end. Not only is Tychicus sent to carry news of Paul to the Colossians, but he carries with him the letter to the Ephesians (Ephesians 6:21-22), and based on the date of writing probably the letter to Philemon (evidenced further by verse 9 with the mention of Onesium, of whom Paul wrote about in his letter to Philemon). In his writing to Titus, Paul refers to the possibility of sending Tychicus to him, requesting that Titus come see him upon the arrival of a relief minister (Titus 3:12). It is possible that Paul sent someone to Titus so that he could take some time away from ministry in order to visit Paul. Finally, nearing the end of his life, Paul sends Tychicus to Ephesus, entrusting the church there to his care in Paul’s absence (2 Timothy 4:12).
Although possibly unknown to so many, it is clear that Tychicus is heavily involved in ministry and someone whom Paul trust greatly. This is clear because because of two reasons. First, Paul relies on Tychicus for important tasks. As seen above, Paul entrusted to his care, communication with churches, completion of delivering letters, and even the leadership over churches. This is confirmed here because Paul tasks Tychicus with two assignments. He is to bring a full report of all of Paul, including not just what He has done or is doing, but also the state of him and the ministry. This means reporting on Paul’s well-being, health, spiritual wholeness, etc. He also sends Tychicus to encourage the believers in Colossae.
Paul’s trust in Tychicus is further seen as he describes Tychicus as a ‘beloved brother,’ ‘faithful minister,’ and ‘ fellow servant.’ A beloved brother signifies that Tychicus is a a fellow believer, which we know because of their ministry together. But being ‘beloved’ also indicates a deep kinship between Paul and Tychicus. It is clear that Paul loved him dearly and it is a love that can only be the result of one thing….a deep love for Christ that has united them as brothers in Christ. Furthermore, he is a faithful minister. For the cause of Christ, Tychicus is working. There is a great example in Tychicus in that he is described as a ‘faithful minister.’ Setting aside his own comfort, own desires, and own glory, Tychicus seems to be a man who continues to work even when the times are difficult and when much is required. He remains encouraged to do his work because it is a ministry unto the Lord Jesus Christ. Finally, he is also a fellow servant. The Christian life is one of servitude, one that Tychicus exemplifies. However, it is not a lonely work. As a fellow servant, there is a group of people that are ministering together for the same cause. Tychicus is just one of those individuals, and it is clear that he is one committed to working alongside others as is the call of a life in Christ.
Examination & Application of the Text: This text is a revelation of the kinship of believers who work together as a group. The body functions with many parts as Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 12 and this is on display in the remaining verses. The description of Tychicus as a beloved brother, faithful minister, and fellow servant suggest what our function, attitude, and behavior should be within the body of Christ.
Beloved Brother: To be a servant of Christ, one must be of Christ. If Jesus Christ is not the master of one’s life, then neither will be the service. It also the unity that is found in Christ that forms a genuine relationship between two believers. More than mere friends, they become brothers and sisters who love one another, seeking the good of the other above the good of self.
Faithful Minister: A servant of Christ is one who is committed to Christ. That committed leads to one who works diligently for the sake of making disciples of Christ (Matthew 28:19).
Fellow Servant: A servant of Christ is one who has the character of Christ. Like Christ, we are to put on a servant attitude, serving with the rest of the body for the function of the body.
The relationship between Tychicus and Paul is an exemplification of the relationship between individuals who have a relationship with Christ. That relationship with Christ permeates into the relationship one another, creating a unique bond that the secular world does not enjoy and does not understand.