2 Timothy 1

This devotional is written by Graeme English.

2 Timothy 1

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, in keeping with the promise of life that is in Christ Jesus,

2 To Timothy, my dear son:

Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

Thanksgiving
3 I thank God, whom I serve, as my ancestors did, with a clear conscience, as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers. 4 Recalling your tears, I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy. 5 I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.

Appeal for loyalty to Paul and the gospel
6 For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7 For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. 8 So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God. 9 He has saved us and called us to a holy life – not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, 10 but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Saviour, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. 11 And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher. 12 That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet this is no cause for shame, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day.

13 What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. 14 Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you – guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.

Examples of disloyalty and loyalty
15 You know that everyone in the province of Asia has deserted me, including Phygelus and Hermogenes.

16 May the Lord show mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, because he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains. 17 On the contrary, when he was in Rome, he searched hard for me until he found me. 18 May the Lord grant that he will find mercy from the Lord on that day! You know very well in how many ways he helped me in Ephesus.

Reflection

Paul writes this letter from Rome in around 67 AD where he was a political prisoner. He clearly thinks a lot of Timothy, claiming him as a spiritual son and calling out the rich heritage of faith passed down from his mother and grandmother. But Paul is also acutely aware of the struggles Timothy is facing as Christians continue to be persecuted by Emperor Nero who has scapegoated them for a fire that destroyed half the city a few years before.

It must have been hugely tempting for Timothy, a young pastor in Ephesus, to turn away from Paul and it's clear that others already have (yes, we're talking about you Phygelus and Hermogenes). To follow someone who has been locked away for a few years by this point, who is becoming increasingly unpopular in society must have been too big a risk for some. But Paul asks Timothy not to be ashamed and to suffer with him for the gospel.

In more recent times, another man who sent influential letters from prison wrote the following:

“If today's church does not recapture the sacrificial spirit of the early church, it will lose its authenticity, forfeit the loyalty of millions, and be dismissed as an irrelevant social club with no meaning for the twentieth century.”

Martin Luther King Jr., along with Gandhi and Nelson Mandela, all found themselves as political prisoners in the last century.  In his "Letter from Birmingham Jail", MLK makes it clear that striving and sacrifice is vital for the church's survival.

What sacrifice is God calling us to make in 2022?

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