During Paul’s stay in the city of Ephesus, he enjoyed the intimate fellowship and help of a number of loyal and devout brethren, and when he was forced to leave the city, several of them became his companions in his labours and travels, among these was Tychicus, in all probability a citizen of Ephesus, (Acts 20:4; 2 Tim. 4:12).
This remarkable man’s name appears five times on the honour roll of Holy Scripture. The ambition of most men generally leads to their seeking recognition by this world, but this brother is seen only in contact with the things of a higher and a more enduring world. At first he is mentioned as a companion of Paul in his travels, but later he is seen as a messenger for Paul during his imprisonment. It has been suggested that he probably carried the Ephesian and the Colossian Epistles to their destinations, and possibly the second epistle to Timothy. Here we have an example of strong attachment through deep friendship; the loyalty of Tychicus was not only during Paul’s liberty but also during his bondage. Conditions did not affect the profound affection that linked these two men of God; Tychicus was not as some, merely a friend of circumstance. In the references that God the Holy Spirit has made to him, there is sufficient said about him to teach us many lessons of divine value.
To the saints at Ephesus Paul speaks in the most commendable manner of his companion, Tychicus; he calls him a beloved brother. Paul by nature was a Jew of no mean standing, a self-righteous pharisee, while Tychicus appears to have been a Gentile. What bond could possibly hold together two men of such different racial characteristics and such divergent religious practices? Nothing but the cross of Christ, for there the middle wall of partition had been removed (Eph. 2:14). Wherever these two men travelled, they were the living evidence of the fact that an objective faith in Christ unites us in the one Body, the Church; they were a testimony to the certainty that Christ is our peace, and that He has made in Himself one new man.
In both the Ephesian and the Colossian epistles he is called “a beloved brother,” but inasmuch as the definite article is used by the Apostle here, “The beloved brother,” this singles him out as, that much loved and esteemed brother. Here we have a hint of the genial disposition of Tychicus. He was such that all loved him, his very character drew forth their affection.
In the same passages (Eph. 6:21; Col. 4:7), Paul tells the saints that Tychicus is “a faithful minister.” The word “minister here must not be limited to the lesser ministry of attending to temporal things, for Epaphras, the great evangelist and founder of the Colossian assembly, is also referred to by the same term (diaconos, deacon). An under-worker appears to be an implied meaning here, and therefore suggests, one who works under Christ as his Divine Master. Tychicus had his eye ever upon his Lord, an ear open for His voice, a heart submissive to His will, and a desire to help in His cause. In all this he was faithful. As a minister he received duties and services from his Master, even Christ, and in faithfulness he performed these duties.
The passage in the Colossian epistle reveals something of his work. In chapter 4:8 he was sent to enquire into the state of the saints, and then to comfort them. It would appear that Tychicus was the answer to the prayer of the Apostle in chapter 2:2. This spiritual man was one who could act as a channel of comfort to the people of God. The word “to comfort” employed in these passages has a threefold meaning which embraces the thoughts of strengthening, encouraging, and comforting. To be such a comfort to the people of God demands that one minister the Word of God according to the Divine standard, “He that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification and exhortation, and comfort” (1 Cor. 14:3). To edify is to strengthen; to exhort is to encourage, and to comfort is to console the Lord’s beloved people. Ministry of such quality stands out in contrast to that which irritates the saints, and to that which produces unnecessary discussion and dissension among them.
No higher recommendation could be given by a servant of Christ to his brother than that which Paul here gave to Tychicus, “All my state shall Tychicus declare unto you, who is a beloved brother, and a faithful minister and fellow-servant” (Col. 4:7). While the expression “a faithful minister,” reveals the attitude of Tychicus to Christ as his Master, the phrase “a fellowservant,” manifests his attitude toward Paul. He had a partnership in the service of the Apostle. This means much, for as such he must have fellowhsip in Paul’s thoughts, travels, trials, and in his joys, no matter what these might be. How can two walk together except they be agreed. No more impressive relationship is to be seen than that of two sincere and earnest servants of Christ who have become one not only in Christ, but one for Christ.
Bearing in mind that Tychicus was from Ephesus in Asia, do we not see his valour as we compare the weakness of his fellowtownsmen during Paul’s last trial. After the Apostle’s preliminary hearing before Nero, he wrote to Timothy, “This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me” (2 Tim. 1:15). How refreshing to see perfect loyalty inspite of general failure. Tychicus of Asia alone had remained faithful and steadfast to the dear aged Apostle.
It would appear from the evidence of 2 Tim. 4:19 and 1 Cor. 16:8, that Timothy was present at Ephesus. Paul longed to see him. Who would face the difficulties of the way and carry the letter from Paul to Timothy? Who would relieve Timothy of his many duties, permitting the journey to and the time at Rome? The answer is found in the beloved brother, “Tychicus have I sent to Ephesus.” He is still the courageous faithful minister and fellowservant, still the messenger of the imprisoned Apostle, carrying inspired letters which by his care were preserved through those long weary journeys. It was through men like Tychicus that the Holy Scriptures were in many cases preserved and forwarded to us.
Tychicus for more than ten years had laboured with Paul, now he takes his last farewell, for in a short time Paul, at the Three Fountains beyond Rome will lay down his life for his blessed Lord. Tychicus likewise rests from his strenuous labours, but he being dead yet speaketh.