I can’t believe our study of II Timothy is ending. What a rich gift in this letter Paul recited – mostly likely to his friend Luke – from a damp and dark prison cell. Mary Carmen reflected on the reality that the apostle finished the race of ministering the Gospel. Paul is keenly aware he soon will be “loosed” from the hardships of this earth to enter his Savior’s presence face to face. Now we turn to Paul’s closing words to Timothy which reveal his emotions and love for the believers who labored alongside him. As Beth Moore says in her study Entrusted: Paul not only kept his faith, he kept his heart.
12 I sent Tychicus to Ephesus. 13 When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, and my scrolls, especially the parchments. 14 Alexander the metalworker did me a great deal of harm. The Lord will repay him for what he has done. 15 You too should be on your guard against him, because he strongly opposed our message.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[a] 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. 22 The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you all.
Observation: What does the passage say?
Comparison- Paul sent Tychicus to Ephesus, left Trophimus in Miletus, Erastus in Corinth with the location of the other disciples mentioned earlier in the chapter (4:1-11)
Cause/Effect – Alexander the metalworker’s evil behavior toward Paul will cause the Lord to take vengeance (4:14)
Warning – Paul tells Timothy to stay away from Alexander the metalworker (15)
Contrast – All deserted Paul but the Lord stood with him and strengthened him (17)
Cause/Effect – the Lord stood with Paul and strengthened him so he could complete his ministry of preaching to the Gentiles (17)
Comparison – Paul talks about being delivered from the lion’s mouth, being rescued from every evil attack, being brought safely into the Lord’s heavenly kingdom (17-18)
Interpretation: What does the passage mean?
We are hard wired for relationship with God and people. Paul knows that Timothy will draw strength and receive comfort from the friendships of Christ followers they both know especially when his dear friend and father in the faith departs. Paul shares the location of those who are fulfilling the ministry; and provides a warning about those who are against the cause of Christ. Paul also reveals the hurts he continues to experience through the attacks of unbelievers and the abandonment of believers in critical times in his ministry. He exposes his human-ness in looking to the Lord to bring vengeance on those who have intended harm and to forgive people who failed to stand with him in the cause of declaring Jesus. His humanity is also present in his desire for the things he requested: his cloak, the parchments, and his hope to see Timothy before winter. When Paul left Trophimus sick at Miletus he reminds Timothy that brokenness continues to plague believers and unbelievers alike; while God can do the miraculous He doesn’t always choose to do so. Paul moved forward with how God was leading him in spite of leaving Trophimus in tough circumstances.
Application: How does the passage apply to me?
Extending forgiveness and letting go of grudges is a lifelong experience. We will never come to the place of things just “roll off of me” without having to work through our emotions and the hurt. I find myself recently processing another “layer” of forgiveness in a situation.
Is there someone you need to extend forgiveness? Is there a grudge you are holding? For further input see my post Making Peace With People Who Hurt You
When God asks you to make a transition, whether geographical or otherwise, how can you let go of the “undone things,” connect those who have come to count on you to other believers and entrust those you wish you could support in person to the Lord?
I remember receiving a card from a dear sister I discipled in college who is now a pastor’s wife. She thanked me for the time spent with her and the effort I made to build into her when we attended the University of Texas. I will always treasure her note and her love as a dear sister in the faith.
Who are the people in your story who have made a difference? Who are the people you have served alongside for the sake of the name of Jesus? How can you express gratitude?
I remain beyond grateful for you, my sacred sister. The Lord be with you spirit.