Thursday

16 July 2015

“But I am not ashamed, for I know the one in whom I have put my trust and I am sure that he is able to guard until that day what I have entrusted to him. Hold to the standard of sound teaching that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Guard the good treasure entrusted to you, with the help of the Holy Spirit living in us.” (vv. 12-14)

Psalm: Psalm 43

Background

From one perspective, it seems odd that the author of today's passage might feel the need to urge Timothy not to be ashamed of the gospel and to assert that he himself is indeed 'not ashamed' - why should they be? But it strikes me that, to those around them, the early Christians must have seemed a very strange bunch.

If my brother (who, for the record is an upstanding, law-abiding citizen) was convicted of a criminal offence and sentenced to death, it would most likely be a source of real shame - as well as grief - for my family. Yet here we have a group of people who are not only unashamed of their 'brother' the convict, but who celebrate his life, death and resurrection as the greatest victory in human history. For those on the outside, it's understandable that Jesus was perceived as a failure and a criminal, and his followers as more than a little strange! Who can blame them if they occasionally lost their nerve and needed encouraging to be bold and confident in the hope they had received?

It's always hard to challenge the dominant narrative that society subscribes to, to choose to see the world in a different way. But the author of today's passage assures us that we needn't be timid, but should instead remember what God has done for us and to fix our feet firmly on the truth and 'rely on the power of God.'

Once again we are reminded that in Jesus God turns the world upside down: death loses its power, sin is defeated, prisoners are set free. To many this can seem like nonsense - but not to those who have seen and experienced the transforming power of God's love.

  

To Ponder

  • Does your faith ever make you feel like an outsider?
  • What helps you to feel confident in sharing your faith?
  • What would it mean for you to 'rely on the power of God'?

 
Bible notes author: Anna Drew

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