12 I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength because he considered me faithful. So he appointed me to ministry 13 even though I used to speak against him, attack his people, and I was proud. But I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and without faith. 14 Our Lord’s favor poured all over me along with the faithfulness and love that are in Christ Jesus. 15 This saying is reliable and deserves full acceptance: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”—and I’m the biggest sinner of all. 16 But this is why I was shown mercy, so that Christ Jesus could show his endless patience to me first of all. So I am an example for those who are going to believe in him for eternal life. 17 Now to the king of the ages, to the immortal, invisible, and only God, may honor and glory be given to him forever and always! Amen.
1 Timothy is a letter of exhortation designed to combat the dissident teaching of insiders and suspicion of outsiders at Ephesus located in southwestern Asia Minor, modern-day Turkey. Our verses carry the subject heading “Thanksgiving” in the CEB.
In verses 12 through 14 Paul tells the story of the power of God’s grace in his life. He tells us that no matter where you came from or what you did, if you trust in Jesus, you too will have a testimony of grace to proclaim. In verses 15 and 16 Paul is saying that it is true and critically important that it be known that Christ Jesus came into the world to save every and any sinner. This is deeply personal to Paul and he is grateful to serve as a testimony of hope and encouragement so that others might be motivated to believe the gospel. Verse 17 is a doxology, a Jewish pronouncement that Jesus Christ is God. He is sovereign above all earthly and spiritual power. He deserves our worship and service because of who he is and what he has done.
This past Sunday, Pastor Joe spoke about Wesley’s rule to do no harm and how important that is. These six verses remind me of the compassion of Jesus mentioned often in the Gospels. Compassion is deliberate, it is about caring, it is about love, and it is about forgiveness. We often focus on the miracles that Jesus did in the time of his ministry. But we can go deeper by examining the scripture and finding that it was Jesus’ compassion, his deep love and caring, that brought him to heal and save.
by Clarence Beverage
For Pondering & Prayer
Many of us would say that right now the world is more upside down than normal. At times like this, especially when I have no voice or impact, I find myself looking at God’s Word and being comforted and strengthened by knowing that I do not have to stay in that place. I can live out the Love of God and Christ every day by how I interact with those whose lives I come in contact with through positive caring action and simple love.
How do you handle times like this? Where do you find strength and comfort, energy to go on?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, help us to show compassion for others through earnest prayer. We pray for the power of your Spirit to lead us in showing your love to others who touch our lives, building community and support for all. Amen.