2 Timothy 1:15-18
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.
Paul names twenty-two people in this letter. Its obvious personal relationships are really important to him. He’s clearly discouraged by the number of people he knows personally who are deserting him in the middle of the most difficult trial of his life. But its also obvious how much the loyalty of someone like Onesiphorus means to him. He says four times as much about one faithful friend than about two unfaithful ones.
It would be understandable if Phygelus and Hermogenes were afraid. At the end of Nero’s reign, authorities in the city of Rome were actively seeking out Christians and killing them in such unusually cruel ways that even pagans were moved to pity. And here is Onesiphorus coming and searching for Paul in Rome, the very centre of the danger. Which will Timothy be like? Will he stand strong for the gospel, unashamed of his testimony about Jesus?
Which will I be? Will I stand by the truth about Jesus even when there’s a risk? When I know someone who’s in a hard place, will I go looking for them, like Onesiphorus came looking for Paul – like Jesus came looking for me? Will I stand by them?
Jesus, thank you that you came looking for me, and you were willing to die to find me and rescue me. I want to follow you. Please give me your heart to faithfully seek out and stand with people who need my support.
Written by David Cornell