During the two years that the Apostle Paul spent in prison at Caesarea (Acts 24:27), certain of his fellow workers had sufficient access to him that he could include them with the note “sends greetings” in the epistles that he wrote at that time. Their number included his “fellow laborers” Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke (Phm. 24). It is curious, as we shall see, that Paul mentions Demas and Luke together. Near the end of the Epistle to the Colossians (4:14), composed during the same period, Paul wrote, “Luke the beloved physician and Demas greet you.”
It appears that these two men, Demas and Luke, afterwards traveled with Paul to Rome, where he spent another two years under house arrest (Acts 28:30). When, writing to Timothy toward the end of that time, Paul was preparing to die, he made one final and very significant reference to Demas and Luke: “Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world, and has departed for Thessalonica. . . . Only Luke is with me” (2 Tim. 4:10–11).
We know a good deal about the rest of Luke’s career, of course, but about Demas we hear not another word, nor does this final reference prompt us much to hope for him—“having loved this present world.”
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Patrick Henry Reardon is pastor emeritus of All Saints Antiochian Orthodox Church in Chicago, Illinois, and the author of numerous books, including, most recently, Out of Step with God: Orthodox Christian Reflections on the Book of Numbers (Ancient Faith Publishing, 2019).
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