Traitor. Coward. Fake. Hypocrite. Loser. Failure. Evil. All these are words we might use to describe a man mentioned a very small handful of times on Scripture. I could count the amount of times this man is mentioned on just one hand. His name is Demas.
Demas is mentioned three times in Scripture. The first two are found in Colossians 4:14 and Philemon 1:24. Very little is known about Demas in these passages. The two things known are that has was a close disciple of Paul and he wanted to be a part of encouraging other believers. Demas is mentioned three times in Scripture. In each of those instances he is mentioned with another name. That name is Luke.
We know Luke well. This is a man not quite so foreign to the average believer than Demas is. He wrote one of the gospels, preached God’s word, and followed Paul around often as his personal physician. We all like Luke, but what about this Demas fellow. Why would all those word in the beginning of my post be used in the heat of the moment against Demas?
We hear the most about Demas in Paul’s last letter. “For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia.” – 2 Timothy 4:10. Paul is reaching the end of his letter by explaining to Timothy that he is alone. He is putting urgency on Timothy to come to him quickly. She lists people who have been sent away like Titus he mentions Demas very specifically. Demas was not sent away. Demas has abandoned Paul. Paul says he has become in love with this present world.
Our gut reaction is to use some of those words I just mentioned. It would be easy to lay judgment on Demas. We should be careful though. This verse was not thrown in for us to judge Demas. That was never Paul’s intent. I would even argue that was very much not his intent for Timothy. I believe Paul wrote this as a warning. This entire letter is written to Timothy as a hope to strengthen him and give him courage to continue spreading the Gospel despite Paul’s circumstances. Paul is mentioning Demas to explain his personal discouragement of abandonment, but also to remind Timothy the price for loving this present world.
I love the wording of that phrase. Demas was in love with this present world. Not even a world of the past or the future. He set his eyes on the present. He saw what was right before him, and chose to make all decisions and life choices based off of the present. The present world held a hardship for Christianity. That is hard for westernized Christianity to grasp. Love for the present world did not match up with a love for God.
I mentioned before there was another name mentioned with Demas. In truth there are actually two. One is Luke and the other is Mark. Paul mentions that Luke has remained with him. Forever faithful and dedicated Luke. Any Christian reading this passage should hope to stay a Luke. However, if we are to be honest we more than likely feel like a Demas at times. We have fallen in love with this present world. We have put more happiness in wealth, possessions, relationships, acceptance, etc.
There is encouragement for you Demas people out there. There is another name mentioned close to Demas. It is Mark. Mark is mentioned with Luke in the very next verse. What is surprising is Paul mentions him in a very positive light. Mark and Paul did not always get along. During a Missions journey Mark left Paul and the rest of the group. He could not handle the hardships of taking the Gospel to foreign places. When it came time for another trip Paul would not let Mark join them. Paul felt abandoned by Mark. For a brief period Mark had becomes a Demas.
We do not know what happened in =between. We do not know what Paul saw in Mark over time that made him see a heart change. All we know is Paul reached the end of his life valuing Mark’s worth in ministry. Mark had come back. He had turned his back on the present world. Mark was sold out for the Gospel.
Some of you may be reading this, and feel you are not like a Demas. You feel you have remained faithful. If that is you then thank God. You are currently a Luke. Be diligent to remain a Luke! Demas in the moment never believed he would turn from the Gospel. Luke’s must be ever vigilant to keep the faith. Others may read this and realize they have become Demas. They have fallen in love with this present world. They care more for something on this earth than God. Their passion for following Him just isn’t there. They have chosen an easier route. If that is you please listen to the encouragement we find in these two verses. You don’t have to remain a Demas forever. You can always become a Mark.