The aged Paul was incarcerated, yet carried on a ministry from prison. 2 Timothy 4:10:17 He had Demas, Crescens, Titus, and Tychicus, all young ministers responsible to him, stationed at different communities nearby, spreading the gospel. He appeard to be very lonely, as anyone would be sitting in a nasty jail cell. And only Dr. Luke was in town with him at that point. He would have probably sent him out preaching if he hadn't needed a doctor for his frequent ailments. (And, Luke did often preach... an evangelist.)
But, more than Paul's lonliness comes out in this little passage. The Coppersmith, along with the other craftsmen, were the ones who stood in court against Paul, since he was bad for business. Much of their craft was in the production of idols, and Paul revealed the ignorance of worshipping idols in his sermons, thereby cutting demand. It seems that the would-be witnesses for the defense were in short supply as Paul stood trial and gave his answer. But, notice he listed the Lord as the only witness who stood up with him, giving him strength to reveal the Gospel on trial.
It was getting cold weather, and Paul was often cold at night, to have thought about the cloak he had left at Troas the previous Spring. You can almost hear the sweet fatherly pleading in Paul's voice for his "son-in-the-gospel" Timothy to bring him his cloak and his books. He missed having those books, and especially the nice parchments. How nice it would be to have something to read here in this dark cell all alone. The Bible parchments would be wonderful!
Paul said in 2 Timothy 2:9 that though he was locked up, the word of God was not locked up with him. Psalm 147:15 God's Words can run from a cold, lonely prison cell, and reach the corners of the earth. When you face trials and struggles, remember the purpose of God behind your suffering. Jeremiah reminds you that God has been thinking about you, and He's got a plan... Jeremiah 29:11
But, the biggest gem here in Paul's plea is that he asked for Mark to be brought into his service of the gospel; John Mark, who apparantly ran away naked the night Jesus was arrested. (The soldiers tried to arrest Mark too, but he ran so fast he slipped out of his robe the soldier had grabbed.) Mark 14:51-52 Mark had also gone with Paul and Barnabas on their first Missionary journey, but turned back when they reached the mainland, for what reason we can only imagine. (It may have had something to do with the stoning and beatings Paul so often received by people who heard him preach, or maybe the "wild beasts" they encountered.) We do know that Paul was angry about Mark deserting the field, and later when Barnabus wanted to take the repentant Mark on the second journey with them, Paul and Barnabas came to a head about the matter. Both men stubbornly refused to give in, so Barnabas took Mark and went one way, and Paul took Silas and went another, splitting the field in half, doubling the path of God's word. My how the Gospel runs! Imagine how God can take even our petty squabbles and multiply the Gospel through them.
But, here Paul the prisoner has reached the point of forgiveness and called for Mark to come to him. What changed his mind? Why did he decide Mark would now be profitable for the Gospel? Mark had worked in later years as an assistant for Peter, and had transcribed the book of Mark from not only his firsthand memories, but from what Peter told him, during their later work together. Since Paul and Peter's imprisonment was closely concurrent, Paul would have known about the work Mark did for first Barnabas, and later with Peter. And, I imagine he had a lot of time to think about Mark, all alone there in that cell. Paul suffered greatly, but performed a great ministry for the Lord. His work and words have multiplied throughout the world. We have two-thirds of the New Testament from his pen. We also have most of our procedures for church government, family relationships, and personal conduct from his writings. History records that when Paul was finally condemned to death, and was led across the field to the chopping block on the Ostesian Road, he broke into a run, laying his head down readily for the blade. It seems he had somewhere to go in a hurry.