Jeremiah 39:1-40:6; 2 Timothy 1:1-8; Psalms 89:47-52; Proverbs 21:5-7
NT: “I thank God, whom I serve with a clear conscience as my ancestors did, when I constantly remember you in my prayers night and day. Remembering your tears, I long to see you so that I may be filled with joy. I recall your sincere faith that first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and now, I am convinced, is in you also. Therefore, I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but one of power, love, and sound judgment. So don’t be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, or of me his prisoner. Instead, share in suffering for the gospel, relying on the power of God.” (2 Timothy 1:3-8 CSB)
The letter of 1 Timothy was likely written in AD 64 after Paul was released from his first Roman imprisonment. Later that year, much of the city of Rome was consumed by a massive fire. To draw attention away from himself, the Roman Emperor Nero blamed the fire on Christians and began Rome’s official persecution of Christianity. The persecution of Christians in Rome by Nero was especially brutal and inhumane, with some Christians even being burned as torches to light Nero’s evening garden parties. Sometime later, Paul was arrested and brought back to Rome, where he was sentenced to death and thrown into a dungeon where he awaited his demise. It was there in the Mamertime Prison, on “death row,” where the letter of 2 Timothy was written.
As far as we know, Paul did not have any biological children, but he did have spiritual children. Of his spiritual children, Paul considered Timothy to be his dearly loved son. Timothy was Paul’s spiritual heir, and it was to Timothy that Paul entrusted his ongoing ministry. For all intents and purposes, the letter of 2 Timothy was Paul’s last will and testament. He wrote to Timothy to request that he join Paul in Rome, but he also wrote encouragements and instructions to Timothy in case he didn’t make it to Rome in time.
I imagine that life for a professing believer of Christ in the late AD 60s was quite scary. Rome was officially anti-Christian and was executing Christians by the thousands. Because of that, public sentiment for Christians across the empire was probably quite low. In the midst of that, Timothy had the challenging job of leading the Ephesian church, and his spiritual father and mentor was sitting on death row. Paul must have sensed that Timothy was growing discouraged and charged Timothy to not be overcome with discouragement, but to rekindle the fire that was prophetically lit in him through the laying-on of hands. Timothy was anointed and appointed by the Holy Spirit through the laying-on of hands for the role that he now occupied. Just as Jesus was anointed by the Holy Spirit to proclaim liberty, freedom and healing; Timothy was anointed by the Holy Spirit for the work of ministry he had been called to.
The Holy Spirit is not a spirit of fear. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of power, authority and boldness – the Spirit who fills us with agape love and the sound judgement of God. The gospel message that Paul had faithfully preached and was entrusting to Timothy is full of the love of God, the power of God and the wisdom of God. The Holy Spirit that filled and led Paul that also filled and led Timothy is the love of God, the power of God and the wisdom of God. There was no reason for Timothy to be ashamed, afraid, or discouraged for God was with him. Likewise, there is no need for us to ashamed, afraid or discouraged – for we who are in Christ are anointed with Christ’s anointing to fulfill Christ’s great commission… and as we do that, we too will be filled with the love, power and wisdom of God that can overcome any fear and overwhelm any discouragement.
Prayer: Lord, I thank You for the gift of the Holy Spirit. As I allow myself to be continuously filled with the Holy Spirit, I am continuously filled with the power, love and wisdom of God. And it is through the baptism and filling with the Holy Spirit that You are with me always – even to the end of the age. Help me to not be overcome by discouragement and fear, but to overcome discouragement and fear by the love, power and wisdom that is within me by the Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.