As soon as I send Artemas or Tychicus to you, do your best to come to me at Nicopolis, because I have decided to winter there. Titus 3:12
It is always a mystery to me why some notable characters in the Bible take up chapters, not verses. Tychicus is mentioned only five times in the New Testament, and only in partial verses. Yet much more could have been written about him. He was a friend to Paul, faithful in every way to represent Jesus in good times and in seasons of great pressure. He proved to be dependable no matter the circumstances.
- He traveled with Paul from Corinth to Jerusalem, never knowing if their ministry would prosper or if they would face persecution. This didn’t deter him.
- He stayed around during Paul’s first imprisonment and during his second. We can be sure that Tychicus was watched, labeled as a disciple of Christ, and became a suspect of sorts. This also didn’t deter him.
- He was the one Paul chose to deliver the books of Ephesians and Colossians to their respective congregations. In doing so, he was trusted to tell the story of Paul’s ministry and imprisonment in such a way that encouragement, not discouragement was the result.
People’s hearts were strengthened to follow Jesus through his words. How easily he could have presented Paul’s plight of imprisonment with fearful tones, causing other disciples to shrink back. Even in this, he was faithful.
Tychicus was also the one who accompanied Onesimus when he was returned to his owner. He would have been an advocate, encouraging Philemon to receive his former slave. That was dicey and required a spiritual finesse.
So, what does Tychicus have to do with Titus? Paul wanted Titus to come and visit him but for Titus to be able to leave Crete, an interim pastor had to be appointed to take oversee the church. It couldn’t be just anyone with the church such a mess. Tychicus was the man.
Finally, there is a passage in 2 Corinthians 8 where Paul describes an unnamed ‘brother’. And with them we are sending our brother whom we have often tested and found earnest in many matters, but who is now more earnest than ever because of his great confidence in you. Many commentators believe that this man is Tychicus. Tested and found to be true.
If I read between the lines in the verses that describe this man, how easily he could have been proven to be an unfaithful friend. He could have grown disillusioned with the life of discipleship, having seen Paul arrested. He could have grown weary of the pace and lifestyle. He could have been ambitious to assume Paul’s position of authority while Paul was in prison. He could have sensationalized the stories of what it was like to accompany Paul in order to get attention from other believers. He could have boasted of his friendship with someone as famous as Paul. In all these things he was tested. In all these things he was proven to be as gold.
In all these things, test me…that I will be found to be faithful to my friends. Amen