Thursday, January 28, 2010

2 Timothy 1:15-18

V15-18 – 15You know that everyone in the province of Asia has deserted me, including Phygelus and Hermogenes. 16May the Lord show mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, because he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains. 17On the contrary, when he was in Rome, he searched hard for me until he found me. 18May 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.

In this final passage of chapter 1, Paul gives Timothy examples of unfaithfulness in Phygelus and Hermogenes and then faithfulness in Onesiphorus, who was a church member in Ephesus (v18; 2 Timothy 4:19). Paul uses the word “everyone” in v15 as an intentional exaggeration to show the danger of unfaithfulness; when an influential person goes astray, oftentimes many others follow. And being faithful to God doesn’t guarantee that people will be faithful to you! It should, and you might think it would, but it doesn’t, as evidenced by Paul here. In fact, Paul seems to expect human unfaithfulness; that’s why he rests so gloriously in the faithfulness of Christ. And Jesus expected that same human unfaithfulness, and He responded the same way that Paul does – by continuing to faithfully serve God.

V16-18 are an extended prayer for Onesiphorus, Paul’s faithful partner in his ministry. This man stood out to Paul, coming to serve him, and encourage him, in his time of need; and Paul wants God to bless him accordingly. And God will (Matthew 10:41-42; 25:40), because He is faithful. Calvin infers from this verse “that ‘the blessing of God rests, not only on the head of the righteous man,’ but on all his house. So great is the love of God toward His people, that it diffuses itself over all who are connected with them.” Timothy would have known these people and would have been further encouraged by Paul’s thoughts to be steadfast in his ministry labor. That’s the application for us. We ought to be encouraging to our brothers and sisters in Christ. But in order to be encouraging, we have to have fellowship; we have to know the struggles of our fellow believers; we have to have relationships and some level of intimacy beyond that of acquaintances; and we have to care enough to help “in many ways” (v18).

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