I have considered it desirable, however, to send you Epaphroditus. He has been to me brother, fellow-worker and comrade-in-arms, as well as being the messenger you sent to see to my wants. He has been home-sick for you, and was worried because he knew that you had heard that he was ill. Indeed he was ill, very dangerously ill, but God had mercy on him—and incidentally on me as well, so that I did not have the sorrow of losing him to add to my sufferings. I am particularly anxious, therefore, to send him to you so that when you see him again you may be glad, and to know of your joy will lighten my own sorrows. Welcome him in the Lord with great joy! You should hold men like him in highest honour, for his loyalty to Christ brought him very near death—he risked his life to do for me in person what distance prevented you all from doing.
So you can see why I’m so delighted to send him on to you. When you see him again, hale and hearty, how you’ll rejoice and how relieved I’ll be. Give him a grand welcome, a joyful embrace! People like him deserve the best you can give. Remember the ministry to me that you started but weren’t able to complete? Well, in the process of finishing up that work, he put his life on the line and nearly died doing it.
Because he came near to death on account of the avodas kodesh of Moshiach, performing an act of Messianic mesirat nefesh (whole-hearted devotion to the cause of Moshiach, even at risk of life) having risked his life, that he might make up for the ministry to me that you could not give.
For the work of Christ he went to death, giving his life, that he should fulfill that that failed of you with my service. [For why for the work of Christ unto the death he went, giving his life, that he should fulfill that that failed to you with my service.]
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