Sunday 1 August, 2021
2 Timothy 4:16-22
16 At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them. 17 But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was delivered from the lion’s mouth. 18 The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen. 19 Greet Priscilla and Aquila and the household of Onesiphorus. 20 Erastus stayed in Corinth, and I left Trophimus sick in Miletus. 21 Do your best to get here before winter. Eubulus greets you, and so do Pudens, Linus, Claudia and all the brothers and sisters.
To know the Lord is always with me and lifting me up is a huge source of strength every day.
This is the strength the Apostle Paul is drawing on in vs 17 and 18 as he reflects back on times in his life when it was only the Lord’s strength that got him through. How I can relate!
And now in verse 18 he looks to the Lord to rescue him and bring him to heaven. He seems to know the reality is he will not be leaving prison this time. “The evil attacks” will be demands for him to deny the Lord. Before being executed Christians were asked by their Roman persecutors to deny their faith. Denials of faith at these public executions were an opportunity for the Romans to send a powerful message to other believers.
An example after Paul’s time, but prophesied in Revelation 2 v 10, is of the martyrdom in about AD160 of the bishop of Smyrna, Polycarp. Smyrna was an early church in what is now Turkey. Polycarp was taken to be executed before an amphitheatre of people, when he famously stated:
“86 years have I served Him and he has done me no wrong. How can I deny my King and my Saviour?”
Paul knows that his King and Saviour will guard him till the end and bring him safely to his side. And in it all he gives God the glory.
To know the Lord is always by my side strengthens me. My own strength (read resolve, patience, determination) will fail me, but the power of the Holy Spirit will hold me by God’s wonderful grace (v22). Paul’s life demonstrated this truth. I want my life to do so as well.
Dear Jesus my Lord and Saviour. My identity is in you. Thank you that you are always with me. I want to draw closer to you today and be strengthened by your love and grace. Amen
Written by Claire Moore