ImmerseMessiah NLT - Page 261



IMMERSED IN 2 TIMOTHY
PA U L H A D S E N T T I M O T H Y on
many assignments over the years, most
recently to Ephesus to stop those whose teaching was contrary to the
truth. Paul supported Timothy in his work from a distance by writing
him letters of instruction. Here Paul is sending him a second letter, one
that includes an urgent message: “Come as soon as you can.”
Paul was in prison while writing this letter, possibly as a result of the
opposition of Alexander the coppersmith, whom he warns Timothy
about. Emperor Nero is now actively persecuting Christians, and the
Roman officials who had previously protected Paul are probably now
sympathetic to his enemies instead. Paul expects to be executed in the
near future because of his faith in Jesus, considering his life “poured
out as an offering to God.” So he writes to Timothy, telling him to leave
Ephesus immediately and join him in Rome.
In this second letter, Paul weaves in many words of personal “charge”
to Timothy. Simply coming to visit Paul in prison would require as much
courage and resolve as Timothy’s previous assignment in Ephesus. Paul
is preparing his young charge for the challenges he would face under
Roman persecution. Attacks would come from all sides, and T
­ imothy
needed to know that leaders in particular would be called to follow in
the Lord’s steps, persevering in the face of suffering and persecution.
Some of Paul’s co-workers in Rome had been intimidated by this
opposition and had abandoned him. He sadly reports, “The first time
I was brought before the judge, no one came with me.” Paul had to
stand alone, as Jesus himself did at his own trial. He urges Timothy to
show the same resolve when his time comes.
Without Paul’s presence, Timothy would need to be steadfast in stopping those who reject the truth and lead other believers astray. He
would need to focus on the critical work always before him, steadily
preaching the word of God, always prepared to defend the Good News
as he originally learned it. Paul instructs him, “Always remember that
Jesus Christ, a descendant of King David, was raised from the dead.
This is the Good News I preach.”
The Bible doesn’t record what happened to Paul or Timothy after
Paul wrote this letter. Tradition says that Paul gave his life for Jesus
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