7 Tychicus will tell you all the news about me. He is a dear brother, a faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord. 8 I am sending him to you for the express purpose that he may know about your* circumstances and that he may encourage your hearts. 9 He is coming with Onesimus, our faithful and dear brother, who is one of you. They will tell you everything that is happening here.
* some manuscripts that you may know about our
As noted above verse 8 has two different readings
I am sending him to you for the express purpose that he may know about your circumstances and…
I am sending him to you for the express purpose that you may know about our circumstances and…
Yet both end with that he may encourage your hearts here, although many versions have comfort your hearts and a few have both. Either would be applicable as there was likely much apprehension about Paul’s status after what he said to the Ephesians’ elders on his way to prison
22 “And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. 23 I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. 24 However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace. 25 “Now I know that none of you among whom I have gone about preaching the kingdom will ever see me again.
Even though he was going to prison Paul wanted to encourage and comfort them. Plus there was hope he would one day be released as reflected in his short letter to Philemon
And one thing more: Prepare a guest room for me, because I hope to be restored to you in answer to your prayers.
So, Paul wrote this while he was in prison in Rome, but he was concerned about the pressures the Colossians, whom he had never visited, were facing. The major pressures were first to make Jesus part of the mystical polytheism practiced by many and the other to observe the laws of the Torah. Giving in to either of these would have been a compromise of the Gospel as noted in chapter 2.
Paul is also encouraging and comforting by naming Onesimus, our faithful and dear brother, who is one of you. One of you as a brother even though he is an escaped slave. Thus his message to slaves and masters continues that the kingdom of heaven knows no master nor slave. All are brothers in Christ which Paul will address in greater detail in his letter to Philemon asking him to receive Onesimus upon his return not as a slave, but as a dear brother.
Paul in prison seeks to encourage and comfort the hearts of those he has never met, but has heard of their great faith in the good news of the Christ Jesus. We too should be encouraged in our day to day walk with Jesus.