Col 4:14 Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas, greet you.
We’ve come to the last 2 of Paul's companions, both gentile. One of them is a doctor and the other a deserter. It is from this passage of Scripture that we come to know that Luke was a physician, this comes as no surprise when examining the great detail and elegance of the writing of the Book of Luke and Acts. Not much is said about Luke in the Scripture but very much is said by Luke in the Scripture. His writings make up almost 28% of the New Testament, giving him more real estate in the NT than even Paul. Tradition holds that he is the writer of Luke and Acts. No book chapter and verse states this but from several passages in the Book of Acts when the writer uses the word “we” we can assume that it had to be a companion of Paul and all the other companions of Paul are mentioned in the 3rd person and the writer in the 1st person [Acts 16:10-17; 20:5-15; 21:1-18; 27:1; 28:16].
We know that Luke was with Paul as early as the Macedonian call In Acts 16 and stayed by his side until Paul's death [2 Tim 4:11]. His letters are addressed to Theophilus [Luk 1:3, Acts 1:1]. We don’t know who that man was but by no coincidence, Theophilus means “Lover of God.” That is who Luke was writing to and still to this day his letters address all those who are a “Theophilus.” Not only his writings but his life was spent ministering to “Theophilus’s” like Paul and the first-century missionaries. He was a minister to ministers and it is no wonder he was called “The Beloved Physician.” It is that title that best describes the Life of Luke, he records details with the accuracy of a surgeon, cares for the Apostles with the heart of a healer, and most importantly leads many to the Great Physician, Jesus Christ.
Our Second name, Demas, is a name that only appears in Scripture 3 times [Col 4:14, Phm 1:24, 2 Tim 4:10]. These 3 mentions of Demas paint a sad picture of a deserter. What made this man who was once considered a “fellow laborer” and deserter? The Love of the world, 2 Tim 4:10 “For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world…” The one thing that has been common in all the names mentioned is the apparent love displayed by the life and sacrifice of each of them. They all gave up their life to serve Christ, which requires a heart that Loves the Lord with all, a mind that loves the Lord with all, and a soul that Loves the Lord with all.
Dear reader and writer alike, be warned of the dangers of a heart divided! Demas was not accused of fornication, adultery, extortion, theft, or some other outlandish sin, no, it was a heart issue. We can safely assume that this heart issue had been at work long before his departure perhaps even as Paul wrote these very words he was serving while his heart was in love with something else, but what? “This present world” It was the here and now that he loved more than the rewards of eternity. How we should tremble as servants of God when we read of Demas and have seen many take his path and nearly slipped down the same path ourselves, when our heart begins to yearn for the present instead of the future.
In closing this list of Paul’s companion’s Demas stands as a stark warning that even among the best of ministries there is the danger of desertion. Of all the names and lives we should aspire to emulate, there is one who reminds us there are lives that are remembered as a warning. Oh Lord let me not be a memorial of warning! One day they will put our bodies in the ground, will they say Here lies______________ “A beloved brother,” “a faithful servant,” “a beloved physician” or will they say here lies______________ “a deserter?”