Bible Reading: 2 Timothy 4:1-22
The fourth chapter of Paul’s second letter to Timothy were his last recorded words. His last words contained no regrets, and he even forgave those who had made life difficult for him [4:16]. Among these last words Paul referred to seventeen different people, many of them his co-workers in the gospel. Let’s just look at some of them, and what they meant to Paul
There was a man restored. His name was John Mark [4:11]. Some years earlier John Mark had failed during Paul and Barnabas’ first missionary journey [Acts 13:5,13]. Paul refused to take John Mark on the second missionary journey, and this caused his break up with Barnabas. Now, years later, Paul recognises how valuable Mark is, and wants him with him in Rome. Isn’t it wonderful that one failure in a person’s life and ministry need not make one’s whole life a failure! Failure is never final! How lovely to see Paul fully reconciled with John Mark.
There was a trusted servant who had faithfully ministered to Paul [4:12]. His name was Tychicus and he was from Asia. He was with Paul and supporting him during his first imprisonment in Rome. Paul had sent him to relieve Titus in Crete, and then to relieve Timothy in Ephesus.
There was a husband and wife who risked their lives. Their names were Aquila and Priscilla [4:19]. They were from Rome, and like Paul were tent-makers by trade. They were with Paul in Corinth and Ephesus, and Paul called them fellow-workers. We don’t know what had happened but Paul was especially grateful that they had risked their lives for his sake.
There was the faithful doctor who often travelled with Paul. We know him as Luke, who wrote a Gospel and the Book of Acts. He is still with Paul but now in Rome. Others have forsaken Paul [4:10,16] but not Luke. A man like this is invaluable in the ministry. Faithfulness is far more important than flashiness!
These and others who are mentioned are special to Paul, but what he most longs for is to see his beloved Timothy. Timothy is Paul’s son in the faith. Their relationship is like a father and son. He desperately wants Timothy to be with him at this critical time. He had sent Tychicus to relieve Timothy in Ephesus [4:12] and asked Timothy to be diligent to come to him quickly [4:9]. He told Timothy to bring Mark with him [4:11]. He asked Timothy to bring the cloak and parchments that he had left in Troas [4:13]. Paul even urged Timothy to do his utmost to come before winter [4:21]. You can tell from this request to Timothy how desperately Paul wanted to see him. All ships would be in port in winter, and if Timothy waited too long he would not be able to travel to Rome – it would be too late!
Can you write a list of the key people in your life who have helped you, encouraged you, and strengthened you in your Christian life as you have served Jesus? If possible why not write them a letter, and say thank you.
Look at the names of the people we looked at today. What adjectives describe these men and women?