1 & 2 Timothyby Robert M. Solomon
Remembering is important in Christian discipleship. Servants, for example, must remember their master’s parting instructions in order to be found faithfully carrying them out when the master returns suddenly (Matthew 24:45–51). Likewise, we must remember Jesus Christ (2 Timothy 2:8). We must fix our eyes on Jesus in order to run the race with perseverance (Hebrews 12:2).
Paul describes Jesus as “raised from the dead” and “descended from David” (2 Timothy 2:8). Each description says something vitally important about Jesus. Jesus is both fully divine (proven by His miraculous resurrection) and fully human (being a human descendant of King David); He is both the Son of God and the son of David. This is a reiteration of what Paul had written to the Romans (Romans 1:1–4). The apostle John referred to Jesus as “the only begotten God” (John 1:18 NASB).
In the early church (and even today), heresies developed when either the divinity or the humanity of Jesus was denied. The Bible holds both facts together (Matthew 1:20–21; Luke 1:35; John 1:14; 1 John 1:1–4); reflection on this truth will help us to understand the nature of the triune God and His eternal purposes to save us. Paul calls this declaration “my gospel” (2 Timothy 2:8), for which he was suffering—“being chained like a criminal” (v. 9). The truth about Jesus and His gospel is worth enduring any amount of suffering.
Paul reflected on his chains in prison while probably dictating 2 Timothy to his friend Luke (4:11). He must have smiled when saying, “But God’s word is not chained” (2:9). You can imprison the messenger, but you cannot imprison God’s Word! Paul was comforted by the power of God’s Word and the failure of human and demonic attempts to suppress or snuff out the gospel. The truth of Jesus cannot be quashed because God will not allow that. God, who is out to save those whom He has predestined (“the elect” in 2:10), will see to it that Jesus is remembered well so that He can be believed and trusted.
For this reason, Paul was willing to “endure everything” (2:10). Even in chains he was filled with joy as he thought about Jesus and considered himself to be privileged to serve his wonderful Lord.
Why do you think it is heresy to deny either the divinity or the humanity of Christ? Why is the truth that Jesus is both fully divine and fully human necessary for us to understand what He accomplished on the cross for us?
2 Timothy 2:8–10 refers to the deep remembering of Jesus and the tough resilience associated with it. How can we remember Jesus at the Lord’s Table (1 Corinthians 11:23–25) so that we can endure everything for the sake of His gospel?