19 October 2015

2 Timothy 4:5-17

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (v. 7)

Psalm: Psalm 145


Today the Church remembers St Luke - perhaps you've heard sunny weather at this time of year described as 'St Luke's little summer'. Luke is identified as a colleague of Paul's in three places: Philemon 24, Colossians 4:14, where he is also described as "the beloved physician", and here. While it is not clear what link, if any, exists between this evangelist and the author of the Third Gospel and Acts, Church tradition has always held these names together in recognising just how much Luke's Gospel matters.

Today's passage speaks of a Christian facing the end of their life, ready to let go of all faith's struggles to receive God's promised crown of righteousness. This lifelong endurance in faith is paralleled by the enduring support of Luke, the only one left with the ageing leader. Luke's Gospel too reflects these qualities of commitment and perseverance leading to reward. Luke 5, for example, offers two stories highlighting these characteristics. First (Luke 5:1-11), Jesus meets some fishermen by the sea and uses a boat as a pulpit. After preaching, he enquires about the success of the night's fishing. Learning that they had caught nothing, he tells them to lower their nets one more time - and they raise a boat-breaking catch. Then (Luke 5:17-26), in town this time, four friends refuse to accept that they cannot carry their friend into Jesus' presence - so they lower him through the roof.

As we continue to reflect on this week's theme 'Fullness of life', it's worth remembering first just how much the Luke's Gospel has contributed to that fullness, with its stories of an inclusive Church where men and women alike can model God's identity. More specifically, we achieve fullness of life through our enduring commitment to the vision of God's glory and to the hope of life with God. Those who run away when the going gets tough, like Paul's companions in 2 Timothy, miss out - they never know the end of the story, nor see how everything fits into place.

To Ponder

  • Where might the phrase "I have kept the faith" connect with your life?
  • Luke has a great reputation as a storyteller, and many of the best-loved parables come from his Gospel. What stories might we tell today to communicate the good news of Jesus?

Bible notes author

The Revd Caroline Wickens

Caroline is a Methodist presbyter, currently serving as superintendent of the Dudley and Netherton Circuit just outside Wolverhampton. She is married to Andrew, an Anglican priest, and has two teenage children.