Friday, October 18, 2013

Standing with leaders

Luke the Physician - Artist unknown
Luke the Physician - Artist unknown

TODAY'S SPECIAL: 2 Timothy 4:9-22

"But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that the message might be preached fully through me, and that all the Gentiles might hear." 2 Timothy 4:17

As Paul mouldered in a Roman jail during what would be his last days, the Lord stood with Paul—as did Luke (2 Timothy 4:11). My Bible's Introduction to 2 Timothy describes the likely setting of its writing:

"The circumstances of his (Paul's) second Roman imprisonment were quite different from those of his first incarceration. Previously, he was in his own hired dwelling and was able to receive visitors freely, but now he was confined in a dungeon and friends could only see him with difficulty. Formerly he had expected to be released, but now he looked forward to death (2 Timothy 4:6-8). At the writing of this letter, only Like was with Paul (2 Timothy 4:11), all others having left for various reasons" - James Lee Beall, Introduction to 2 Timothy, New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 1709.

But Paul remained clear-sighted about his purpose, i.e. to share the gospel fully so that the Gentiles might hear. Luke had a similar purpose. He addressed both Luke and Acts to Theophilus.

Who was Theophilus? Some suggest he may have been a well-known Roman figure (Titus Flavius Clemens, the Emperor Vespasian's nephew perhaps) and that Theophilus was a name used to conceal his real identity. Others think that Theophilus was his real name and that he was a representative of that class of Roman society Luke wished to influence for the gospel. At any rate, Theophilus was probably a Gentile (from the"Theophilus" entry in the New Bible Dictionary).

And so Luke and Paul were on the same mission (to spread the gospel to the Gentiles) and stuck together. Aren't we who are Gentiles glad they did!

Luke's loyalty to Paul at this time illustrates the importance of the friendships and encouragements our leaders need. In fact we might say that Paul's tribute to God's faithfulness ("But the Lord stood with me...") was directly linked to the presence of Luke in his life. Who are the leaders in our lives that we can encourage with our presence and loyalty?

PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for the example of faithful Paul and his loyal companion Luke. Help me to be a loyal friend, encourager and supporter. Amen.

MORE: The Feast of St. Luke.

Today the church celebrates Dr. Luke. The day's liturgy begins with this collect:

Almighty God, who inspired your servant Luke the physician to set forth in the Gospel the love and healing power of your Son: Graciously continue in your Church this love and power to heal, to the praise and glory of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.


New King James Version (NKJV) Used with permission. The Holy Bible, New King James Version Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

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