The theme of Paul’s first letter to Timothy is a resolute charge to hold fast to the truth of God in the midst of the swirling storms of falsehood. Paul’s commission is to stay firm in promoting and proclaiming the doctrine with which he entrusted the young pastor. Timothy was undoubtedly enduring severe ministerial trials as the burgeoning philosophies and theosophies of gnosticism were threatening the church. Such is why Paul aims to affirm the indefatigable truth of God’s gospel by contrasting what was being taught, the false versus the true.
In the Pastoral Epistles, the apostle Paul is passing the torch as the primary doctrinal voice for the church to a new generation of pastors and preachers in both Timothy and Titus. Paul anticipates the frailty of his life and senses the winds of change that are coming for the nascent churches with which he spent his life laboring for the sake of the gospel. A new phase of pastoral ministry is looming: a defense of the faith. That which was fresh and new and took the churches by storm in the first wave of apostolic preaching has given way to discontent and falsehood. Such is why Paul is adamant in his resolve to Timothy and Titus to keep the faith and hold fast to sound doctrine.
It is an encouraging and emboldening truth to know that God uses the weak and insignificant people of this world to expand his kingdom. God has uniquely chosen the foolish to shame the wise in this mission to exalt his name. Such is what Paul says to the Corinthians in his first letter to them. It is God’s prerogative to assign the great mandate of the Great Commission to frail, feeble creatures like us. 3rd John speaks to this point excellently, showing both God’s gracious choice of us and our function as his children.
The Gospel of Mark is known for its rapid pace. The book moves quickly from scene to scene as the author strives to get to his main point, which is, Jesus is the heaven-sent servant. Mark’s endeavor to show Jesus as “one who serves” serves to underscore the entire theme of the Gospel, namely, that Jesus is the unexpected Lord who comes to serve, who comes to give himself to us.
What happens when God says no? What’s your reaction to God’s denial? Do you throw a tantrum like a child? Or do you take it in stride trusting in his sovereignty? Your reaction to God’s negative replies reveals what you’re relying on and trusting in for your success, for you life. And learning from David’s response in 1 Chronicles 17, we are made to be encouraged, even when God says no.