gratitude & hoopla: Timothy, My Beloved Child

gratitude & hoopla

"Nothing taken for granted; everything received with gratitude; everything passed on with grace." G. K. Chesterton

20.5.06

Timothy, My Beloved Child

So we learned a couple of things (at least) from the opening sentence of Paul's second letter Timothy. 1) Paul was an apostle of Christ Jesus. That is, he was commissioned by Christ to be His representative. And 2) this apostleship is "according to the promise that is in Christ Jesus." I said yesterday that there was something mighty in these words. Paul speaks much of being "in Christ" in his letter to the Ephesians. The unity of all believers is found just here--in their being "in Christ." And for Paul it is not simply a spiritual or ethereal statement, religious mumbo-jumbo, but a practical day-to-day reality. His representation of Christ (as an apostle) is according to, in line with, all that has entered into him by means of his having entered into Christ. Such things as are elsewhere called newness of life or the fruit of the spirit.

And so we come to verse 2:
To Timothy, my beloved child
The first mention of Timothy in the Scriptures is at Acts 16:1. Paul was on his 2nd missionary journey into Asia Minor, accompanied by Silas. On his first journey he had established a fledgling church at Lystra. Now, returning after several years, he finds a young believer, Timothy, spoken well of by all, the son of a pious mother and grandmother (as we will soon learn). Paul immediately sees that Timothy will be useful on this mission trip, and the young disciple is no doubt eager to join Paul. Thus begins a relationship that will blossom from that of apostle and acolyte to spiritual father and son.
When Paul writes to the Romans (from Ephesus) he sends greetings from Timothy.

When Paul needs to send a representative into a difficult situation at the Corinthian church, he sends Timothy not once but twice.

When Paul is suffering his first Roman imprisonment, Timothy is among those attending to his needs.

And when the Thessalonians, who are undergoing persecution, need some encouragement, Paul sends Timothy.
But by far the longest description of Timothy is at Philippians 2:19-24:
I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, so that I too may be cheered by news of you. For I have no one like him, who will be genuinely concerned for your welfare. They all seek their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. But you know Timothy's proven worth, how as a son with a father he has served with me in the gospel. I hope therefore to send him just as soon as I see how it will go with me, and I trust in the Lord that shortly I myself will come also.
"As a son with a father he has served me in the gospel." That was Timothy. When Paul spoke of him to others, he usually referred to him as a brother in the Lord. But here in Philippians, and in the two surviving personal letters to Timothy, Paul refers to Timothy with the unreserved love of a father. "To Timothy, my beloved child."

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