2 Timothy 4:14-16 ESV
2 Timothy 4:17 ESV
From the Jar
I sometimes wonder if the early Christians knew that over 2000 years later, we would be reading and studying the words they wrote.
As Paul wrote his second letter to Timothy we might notice the contents of the letter contained final comments to His beloved friend.
Paul had been a mentor to Timothy, and Timothy had been a good student.
In the letter, Paul’s personal instructions included warnings, praises, and remarks about specific people.
The interesting thing about Paul’s warnings about people who did him great harm clearly stated that the Lord would repay for deeds done. Two thousand years later I cannot imagine anyone standing against the Apostle Paul in the 1st Century.
Clearly they did.
Paul had to learn how to know which people he could trust.
We’ve all been there. We’ve all befriended people who seemed to be trustworthy.
We’ve been deceived.
It’s noteworthy that while Paul did mention those who could not be trusted by name, he did not dwell on it. He stated they could not be trusted and he left the matter in God’s capable hands.
Paul also stated that when the betrayal happened no one stood by him.
No one came to his defense.
Everyone deserted him.
We’ve all probably experienced the same experience of feeling like we’ve been left abandoned and alone.
I know I have.
There have been times in ministry when my words were not embraced.
My words were bold. I do tend to be bold. I don’t intend to be bold, but to my own surprise I’ve made bold statements about God that have left me standing alone.
In those moments when I stood alone, I was confused and hurt.
I was even a little surprised that my statement had been perceived as being bold.
When it happened, I went to God afterward and hid in the shelter of His wings.
I didn’t do that because I felt like I was wrong. I did it because I felt alone.
I think that’s what the Apostle Paul felt when he wrote in 2 Timothy 4:14-16,
“Alexander the coppersmith did me great harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds. Beware of him yourself, for he strongly opposed our message. At my first defense no one came to stand by me, but all deserted me. May it not be charged against them!”
Paul wasn’t bitter that no one stood be him, he even asked that it would not be held against them.
In Paul’s next statement we learn why when Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 4:17, “But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion's mouth.”
Paul was taken aback that he was left alone and deserted, but he recognized that in that moment, God stood with him.
God strengthened him.
God had reassured Paul that he was called to proclaim the message of the Gospel to the Gentiles.
God rescued him from the lion’s mouth. Paul had been rescued from the lion’s mouth before and Paul left his fate in God’s hands again. Paul trusted God.
Even though Paul must have known his end was near, he trusted God.
It is believed that Paul was beheaded in Rome after the great fire. He was martyred about the same time as Peter, who was crucified upside down.
The Roman Emperor Nero was not able to martyr Paul by crucifixion because Paul was a Roman Citizen.
Paul’s words in 2 Timothy were the last letter he wrote to his beloved friend and protege Timothy. It is believed it was written shortly before his death.
We believe by faith that when he was taken from prison to be martyred, God did strengthen Paul and stood with him in the end.
I recently lost a very good friend, a person I’ve prayed with for over 25 years. The moment she passed over, I knew the gates of heaven had opened for her. The opening was glorious. GLORIOUS. God blessed me by allowing me to feel (just for an instant) what heaven was like. Then, in an instant I knew she was gone. I knew she was with Jesus. My first thought was that I wanted to tell her what I experienced…but she was gone.
It was the first time I felt heaven’s door open.
I wept for hours after but I know I was blessed in knowing the glorious moment of her passing into the arms of Jesus. I know I will see her again and I will be able to tell her about it.
I believe the Apostle Paul’s passing in the 1st Century a VERY glorious moment when he passed into the arms of Jesus. He was a martyr. He was a martyr for Jesus. He lived his life and he died serving Jesus.
Today’s Spiritual Practice is: Remember a Passing
Remember a loved one who has passed over and thank God for instantaneously being with them. Know they are eternally with Jesus and you will see them again.
In God, Deborah