I am appealing to you for my child, Onesimus whose father I have become during my imprisonment.
Finally, we now know what Paul´s previous statements were up to. We are now dealing with the fulcrum of the letter. Paul´s intention of this personal letter to Philemon was an appeal on behalf of Onesimus. The word ´appeal´ has connotations of encouragement rather than a command. We do not know more about Onesimus except for his mention in Colossians. Paul refers to Onesimus as his son. We assume that Paul was the spiritual father of Onesimus meaning that he had played a significant role in his conversion. Remember that Paul was in Rome under house arrest where people were free to visit him. Therefore, he had the opportunity of preaching to both the Jews and Gentiles.
Onesimus might have escaped to Rome which was a massive city and had the opportunity to visit Paul whom he had known earlier. Probably it was during this visit that Onesimus received the gospel and convert to the faith. In this verse, we don’t know yet what Onesimus had done that made his escape to Rome. The next verses will unveil the secret behind the escape, so, hold on to your breath. Two takeaways; 1. Prisons do not stop us from witnessing Christ; they may be spiritual, economic, or material prisons. 2. Negotiating for someone is a process that starts will establishing relationships.