Jesus, which is called Justus - Jesus, Joshua, or Jehoshua, was his name among his countrymen the Jews; Justus was the name which he bore among the Greeks and Romans.
These only - That is, only Aristarchus, Marcus, and Jesus Justus, who were formerly Jews or proselytes; for οἱ οντες εκ περιτομης, they were of the circumcision, and assisted the apostle in preaching the Gospel. There were others who did preach Christianity, but they did it from envy and strife, in order to add affliction to the apostle's bonds. It is evident, therefore, that St. Peter was not now at Rome, else he certainly would have been mentioned in this list; for we cannot suppose that he was in the list of those who preached Christ in an exceptionable way, and from impure and unholy motives: indeed, there is no evidence that St. Peter ever saw Rome. And as it cannot be proved that he ever was bishop or pope of that city, the keystone of the triumphal arch of the pope of Rome is pulled out; this building, therefore, of his supremacy, cannot stand.
And Jesus, who is called Justus - The name Jesus was probably that which he bore among the Jews. Justus is a Roman name, and was probably that by which he was known among the Romans. It was not uncommon thus to assume another name when one went among a foreign people; compare the notes at Acts 13:9.
Who are of the circumcision - Jews, or Jewish Christians. Nothing more is known of Justus.
These only are my fellow-workers unto the kingdom of God - The word “only” here, probably refers to the fact that they only of all the Jews who were at Rome assisted Paul in his work. Epaphras and Luke were also with him at Rome, and doubtless aided him.
Which have been a comfort unto me - The more so because they were Jews. The other Jews in Rome stood aloof, and doubtless endeavored to augment the trials of the apostle; compare Acts 28:23-29.
Thus, while apparently cut off from active labor, Paul exerted a wider and more lasting influence than if he had been free to travel among the churches as in former years. As a prisoner of the Lord, he had a firmer hold upon the affections of his brethren; and his words, written by one under bonds for the sake of Christ, commanded greater attention and respect than they did when he was personally with them. Not until Paul was removed from them, did the believers realize how heavy were the burdens he had borne in their behalf. Heretofore they had largely excused themselves from responsibility and burden bearing because they lacked his wisdom, tact, and indomitable energy; but now, left in their inexperience to learn the lessons they had shunned, they prized his warnings, counsels, and instructions as they had not prized his personal work. And as they learned of his courage and faith during his long imprisonment they were stimulated to greater fidelity and zeal in the cause of Christ. AA 454.1
Among Paul's assistants at Rome were many of his former companions and fellow workers. Luke, “the beloved physician,” who had attended him on the journey to Jerusalem, through the two years’ imprisonment at Caesarea, and upon his perilous voyage to Rome, was with him still. Timothy also ministered to his comfort. Tychicus, “a beloved brother, and a faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord,” stood nobly by the apostle. Demas and Mark were also with him. Aristarchus and Epaphras were his “fellow prisoners.” Colossians 4:7-14. AA 454.2
Since the earlier years of his profession of faith, Mark's Christian experience had deepened. As he had studied more closely the life and death of Christ he had obtained clearer views of the Saviour's mission, its toils and conflicts. Reading in the scars in Christ's hands and feet the marks of His service for humanity, and the length to which self-abnegation leads to save the lost and perishing, Mark had become willing to follow the Master in the path of self-sacrifice. Now, sharing the lot of Paul the prisoner, he understood better than ever before that it is infinite gain to win Christ, infinite loss to win the world and lose the soul for whose redemption the blood of Christ was shed. In the face of severe trial and adversity, Mark continued steadfast, a wise and beloved helper of the apostle. AA 455.1Read in context »
This desertion caused Paul to judge Mark unfavorably, and even severely, for a time. Barnabas, on the other hand, was inclined to excuse him because of his inexperience. He felt anxious that Mark should not abandon the ministry, for he saw in him qualifications that would fit him to be a useful worker for Christ. In after years his solicitude in Mark's behalf was richly rewarded, for the young man gave himself unreservedly to the Lord and to the work of proclaiming the gospel message in difficult fields. Under the blessing of God, and the wise training of Barnabas, he developed into a valuable worker. AA 170.1
Paul was afterward reconciled to Mark and received him as a fellow laborer. He also recommended him to the Colossians as one who was a fellow worker “unto the kingdom of God,” and “a comfort unto me.” Colossians 4:11. Again, not long before his own death, he spoke of Mark as “profitable” to him “for the ministry.” 2 Timothy 4:11. AA 170.2
After the departure of Mark, Paul and Barnabas visited Antioch in Pisidia and on the Sabbath day went into the Jewish synagogue and sat down. “After the reading of the law and the prophets the rulers of the synagogue sent unto them, saying, Ye men and brethren, if ye have any word of exhortation for the people, say on.” Being thus invited to speak, “Paul stood up, and beckoning with his hand said, Men of Israel, and ye that fear God, give audience.” Then followed a wonderful discourse. He proceeded to give a history of the manner in which the Lord had dealt with the Jews from the time of their deliverance from Egyptian bondage, and how a Saviour had been promised, of the seed of David, and he boldly declared that “of this man's seed hath God according to His promise raised unto Israel a Saviour, Jesus: when John had first preached before His coming the baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel. And as John fulfilled his course, he said, Whom think ye that I am? I am not He. But, behold, there cometh One after me, whose shoes of His feet I am not worthy to loose.” Thus with power he preached Jesus as the Saviour of men, the Messiah of prophecy. AA 170.3Read in context »