The name Demas appears in three of Paul’s letters written from Rome.
Colossians 4:14, “Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas, greet you.”
Philemon 1:24, “Marcus, Aristarchus, Demas, Lucas, my fellow labourers.”
2 Timothy 4:10, “For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia.”
“The second epistle unto Timotheus, ordained the first bishop of the church of the Ephesians, was written from Rome, when Paul was brought before Nero the second time.” [eSword]
Compare 2 Timothy 4:10 to the next verse, “Only Luke is with me. Take Mark and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry.”
Luke was a faithful physician to Paul throughout some of his travels and authored the Books of Luke and Acts. (John) Mark had parted with Paul in earlier travels but they were later reconciled. He later wrote Peter’s account of being Jesus’ disciple, the Book of Mark.
As for Demas, he began well as confirmed by Paul referring to Demas as a “fellow labourers,” Philemon 1:24. Sadly he may have feared being executed with Paul and abandoned him. Was it only fear or “having loved this present world.” Here we learn about the pull of survival as well as the comforts of the flesh.
“Study 9 DEMAS: THE SNARE OF WORLDLINESS
2. SEVERE PERSECUTION AND TESTING
Look up Matthew 24:9-10; compare Matthew 5:10-12 and 1 Peter 4:12-19 - and then look up Luke 8:13. Is this a commentary upon the experience of Demas? It frequently happens that those who have trusted Christ and have confessed their faith in Him “falter” when the fires of persecution begin to burn. Many young believers who have been nurtured in a Christian home and church discover, when they leave home to go to college or to work out “in the world”, that their faith is very severely tested. Some, like Demas, turn back! All such tested ones need our prayers, (not our criticisms), and all the encouragement we can give them.”
Matthew 24:9-10, “9 Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake. 10 And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.”
Matthew 5:10-12 speaks to suffering for Jesus as a joyful trial as does 1 Peter 4:12-19.
Finally, the parable of the sower refers to those such as Demas who do not persevere to the end. Luke 8:13, “They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.”
While Christians suffer throughout parts of the world, we have been far less persecuted here in the United States. However, there can be the loss of friendship, ridicule and even employment. If and when really tested, will I be a Demas, I pray not.