The Plea and the Blessing: 2 Timothy 1:2
“2) To Timothy, my beloved son: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.” 2 Timothy 1:2
Before you write this verse off as an empty platitude, take a moment and review the historical context from which Paul was writing to his beloved son in the faith. They were terrible times for Christians.
Nero had just burned down the city of Rome and blamed it on the Christians. Paul and many others had been arrested and charged as enemies of the state. Hundreds of Christians were being tortured for sport and entertainment in Roman Coliseums. We have no idea how many were actually martyred by Nero.
From his prison cell awaiting his own fate, Paul wrote these words; “2) To Timothy, my beloved son: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.”
It should be noted that Paul opened his first letter to Timothy with this same plea and blessing. Why? They were written only three to four years apart and from his vantage he could see the storm clouds were gathering very fast. Paul was in tune with the signs of the times.
Suddenly, this verse is transformed into both a plea and an urgent blessing. Paul was handing the baton to Timothy and pronouncing God’s grace, mercy and peace over him. Paul was commending Timothy to the protection and sovereignty of God while resigning to his own pending fate. (See 2 Timothy 4:6-8)
But Paul was in no way being futile or fatalistic in this plea and blessing. Despite the utter gloom and hopelessness of external circumstances for many Christians in the Roman Empire, he fully expected God to show up in all of His glory, grace, mercy and peace to make a way for Timothy and many other Christians during these dark times.
By the time Paul wrote this second letter, he had every reason to believe they were living in the end times. The description Jesus gave His disciples in Matthew 24-25 of the end times looked like they were being fulfilled before his eyes. Jerusalem itself and the temple were about to be destroyed. The end of the church age will have an eerie resemblance to its beginning.
Why is this important? I believe this verse and the early Christians were an example for how todays church should face persecution in these darkening days. Shortly, every believer will need Gods grace, mercy and peace to overshadow them. Christians are again being maligned as the enemy of the state. In many countries they are being martyred by the hundreds.
I cannot explain the mysteries of the end times or the doctrine of martyrdom, but woven into them is this urgent plea of Paul for grace, mercy and peace for His beloved son in the faith.
I pray this way for my dear brothers and sisters under the shadow of war and martyrdom today. Many times we have no other recourse but to pray this way! Soon, I believe this will be our plea for all Christians. Like in Pauls day, the storm clouds are again gathering very fast. May Gods grace, mercy and peace rest upon you!
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global