A million people were living in Rome in 60 AD. Epaphras wanted to talk to one of them. It seems impossible. Epaphras knew that Paul was under house arrest in Rome so he couldn’t move. That helped. And Epaphras knew that Paul’s way of living would making him easy to find.
Epaphras had spent the better part of three years observing Paul in Ephesus. He had heard Paul talk about how to teach people to teach people to teach people. So Epaphras knew that during the couple years he had been in Rome, Paul would have made the most of every opportunity and left clues everywhere.
Paul would have engaged everyone in conversation. He would have started conversations with the guards outside the house, talking to them of all the parts of the empire he’d seen. Jews living in Rome would have all known about Paul through the network of synagogues, the way expats always know who is bringing news from home. Luke and Mark and Peter were there, Peter in prison, Luke with Paul, and Mark moving between the two. Paul wouldn’t have been on the evening news, but people had heard about it. He wasn’t invisible.
Epaphras may have started with a synagogue. He may have started with the Roman army. Or he may have been arrested himself and ended up near Paul. But through human and divine means, they were together.
Epaphras greeted Paul with the excitement and relief of a quest fulfilled. It may have taken a couple days for them to have a chance to sit back and start talking teacher to disciple.
“Tell me about your work,” Paul said.
“I’m not sure what to say, Paul. I love these people in Colossae. They are like family to me. Some of them are family. We’ve been growing well. People are doing great. But there’s something odd happening, under the surface.”
Paul nodded. “Tell me.”