Today you should read: 2 Timothy 4:9-22
Moments before he ascended into Heaven to sit at the right hand of the Father, Jesus said, “You will receive my power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all of Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)
When Dr. Luke recorded these famous words of the living Christ—who had risen from the dead—we can imagine his amazement that he got to witness the prophecy come true. Jesus’ words provide the outline of the whole book of Acts. Starting at the Day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit rushed upon the disciples and the truth of the Gospel poured forth in multiple languages and 3,000 were saved. Later, unwilling missionaries fled Jerusalem at the stoning of Stephen and the Gospel spread to escape violence. As Stephen died, a Pharisee named Saul was honored. Saul took up the charge to crush this sectarian divide of Christianity—the illegitimate offspring of the true faith. That is, until on the way to Damascus, he was converted.
The expectation of the Messiah is that when he came, he would be King of the whole world. He would crush Rome and put all government leaders under his feet. Instead, the Messiah died. The message of salvation would make it to the remotest part of the earth—to Rome—but not through military victory. After traveling the Roman roads sharing the gospel and planting churches, Paul was placed in jail. Uncommonly, he was a Roman citizen by birth and had a right that few of his kind possessed, he appealed his case to Caesar. Dr. Luke recorded the spread of the gospel all the way to Rome through a Pharisee in chains.
Now, though much time has passed since the close of the book of Acts, Paul sat in prison in Rome. As he put the final touches on his final letter in his final days, only Dr. Luke remains.
Paul wished to see his young disciple, Timothy. Likewise, he wanted Mark, who although he once fearfully fled the mission field, was now useful in ministry. He requested two things be brought to him: his cloak that saw him through many chilly nights and his books because we never stop learning. On his travels, Timothy was admonished to greet friends and be cautious of enemies, and to arrive before winter.
As in many things, we don’t know the end of the story. Did Timothy make it before Paul died? We don’t know. What we do know is that the Gospel made it to where Jesus promised—far from where it all began. And even now it continues to spread. It would have encouraged Paul’s heart to know that his work has echoed for thousands of years, crossed oceans, and untold Gentile believers have come to know the risen Lord because he was faithful.
How has Paul’s story encouraged you? Have you stopped to consider how today will impact your legacy? What can you do this week that will echo into eternity?
By: Tyler Short — Connections Ministry Associate
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