DEMAS, A HALF-HEARTED CHRISTIAN (Fr. Varghese Paul, S.J.)

Demas in Greek means popular. Demas is a companion and fellow worker of St. Paul. We have just three references about him in three different letters of St. Paul.

In his letter to Colossians Paul mentions Demas together with Luke. Luke, our dear doctor, and Demas send you their greeting (Col 4, 14).

In his letter to Philemon, St. Paul clubs Demas together with Mark and other fellow workers: Ephaphras, who is in prison with me for the sake of Christ Jesus, sends you his greetings, and so do my fellow-workers Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke (Phlm 23-24).

In these two references St. Paul only sends his greetings to Demas together with other fellow workers. But in his 2nd letter to Timothy St. Paul makes a strong and damaging statement against Demas: Demas fell in love with this present world and has deserted me, going off to Thessalonica (2 Tim. 4, 10).

St. Paul while praising highly his fellow worker Timothy in his letter to Philippians, says He (Timothy) is the only one who shares my feelings and who really cares about you. Then he adds: Everyone else is concerned only with his own affairs, not with the cause of Jesus Christ (Phil 2, 20-21).

Demas was St. Pauls companions in Rome for a considerable period of time Does the above statement of Paul refers to Demas? Does it mean that even when Demas was with St. Paul, he was not fully trusted by St. Paul? We do no know.

And yet we can guess certain things about the Demas. Since Demas went back to Thessalonica, he must have been a native of Thessalonica. He must have embraced the Christian religion when Paul preached at Thessalonica and became a disciple of St. Paul and enthusiastically followed him to Rome.

In Rome with St. Paul who is in prison or in house-arrest, Demas realized that Christianity means following the Master carrying the Cross. Demas realized that difficult path is not for him to follow!

Demas is like some newly converted Christians. He is enthusiastic as long as he can get some good things of life from his new religion. But faced with difficulties and challenges, he abandons the religion and go back to his old accustomed ways. Coming to grip with facts, St. Paul writes about Demas in the letter to Timothy that, Demas fell in love with this present world and has deserted me, going off to Thessalonica (2 Tim. 4, 10).

Demas fell in Love with this present world could mean that as the Jerome Biblical Commentary says, Demas has become an apostate; more likely, it means that Demas has forsaken Paul out of concern for some secular business or for reasons of personal safety and comfort (vol.III, p.359). (contact the author: यह ईमेल पता spambots से संरक्षित किया जा रहा है. आप जावास्क्रिप्ट यह देखने के सक्षम होना चाहिए. )

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