Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David, was raised from the dead…
(2 Timothy 2:8)
There are hard times coming up. Paul, the chosen instrument of the Lord, has seen congregation after congregation instituted under his preaching. He trained helpers and evangelists. In letters and talks he encouraged them again and again for the great task. The church grew – through good reports and bad. Now Paul has completed his course. His departure is imminent – a bloody ending, for the sake of the gospel.
Every preacher, every believer, should be aware that this may happen also to him or her. Persecutions will increase.
In the congregations there is a need for much struggle. Heretical movements are falsifying the gospel, re-directing life back to heathendom. Their message will spread like cancer.
If Timothy remains faithful, he will have a hard life. Paul encourages him: Don’t be ashamed of the gospel; endure hardship with the others as a good soldier of Christ; the hard-working farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops. Timothy must keep it up. And it is also possible. Remember that Jesus Christ was raised from the dead, of the lineage of David.
Remember, that is: keep in mind, not every now and then, but all the time; every day when you have to preach in difficult circumstances, when you have to struggle with sly opponents, when you have to suffer under harsh rulers.
Remember in that hopeless situation, when the gospel may seem almost a day-dream, the truth that Jesus Christ, the Risen One from the dead, from the line of David, is an eternal King. In His service you can fight on without thinking about yourself, because He cares for you. You may lose your life for Him, for in Him your life is imperishable, untouchable.
There is no hard reality in the sense that faith in the Lord and serving Him must necessarily lead to something unreal. That is what the hard hearts and hard heads of unbelief are saying. But the reality is this: Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, is our living, strong, eternal King.
By Rev T Dekker in Joh. Francke (ed.) Your Only Comfort: A Bible Daybook, Pro Ecclesia Publishers, Armadale, Western Australia, 2017, p. 125 (29 April).