Second Reading: 2 Timothy 1:8-10

The Power of the Good News

The old social norm was “Never discuss politics and religion.” Do you agree or disagree with this norm? Why?

Popular Translation

8 Timothy, don’t be ashamed of the faith in our Lord. And don’t be ashamed of me, a prisoner for Jesus. Instead, be willing to suffer for the Good News by using God’s power. 9 God saved us and called us to live a holy life. We can’t do this on our own. No, God wanted to call us for his own reasons. In fact, he gave us his grace in Christ Jesus even before time began! 10 He clearly showed us his grace when Jesus Christ appeared as our Savior. Jesus abolished death and showed us a new and immortal life through the Good News.

Literal Translation

8 So, you should not be shamed by the testimony of OUR LORD, nor by me, his prisoner, but suffer ill (together) for the Good News by the power of God, 9 the (one) having saved us and having called (us) to a holy call, not according to our works but according to his own purpose and grace, the (one) having been given to us in CHRIST JESUS before times eternal, 10 having been made clear through the appearance of our SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST, on the one hand, having abolished death and, on the other hand, having shined (a light on) life and the (state of) in corruption through the Good News...

2:8 “suffer ill (together) for the Good News by the power of God” The verb “suffer ill together” seem to indicate the community took a share in persecution. Paul was not only inviting Timothy to share in his sufferings, but in those that served the Church.

2:8-10 This single sentence began with a call to Timothy in the main clause (1:8), but soon extolled the activity of God (1:9: God saved us and called us to a holy life; 1:10a: God showed us his grace in the appearance of Christ). He ended the sentence with the activity of Christ (1:10b: Christ abolished death and “shined a light” on immortal life).

What is the true worth of the Good News? Sometimes we who grew up in the Church (or, at least in a Christian culture) take the Gospel for granted. It is so woven into the fabric of life, it is easy to ignore its power.

But, the Gospel has power! It related us not only the life, death, and resurrection of Christ, it showed us mind of God. God intended to give us a new life, even from the beginning of time! When Christ rose from the dead, he “threw a light” on the life he wished for all people: an immortal life in Christ.

As much as we could want this life, we cannot achieve it on our own. We cannot cheat death. We cannot transcend the limitations of this life for the glory of the next. Only God can do this. And he wants to do it for us. The power of God and his desire to use his power for us is called “grace,” God’s gracious gift.

Because the Good News tells us God’s thoughts and intentions, it is controversial. People do not want to hear it, because its message is life-changing. It makes demands as well as promises. God’s grace may be a gift, but to exercise it means setting aside self interest and doing God’s will. Some are shamed by the message. Others are willing to undergo any trial to spread the message. Such is the power of the Good News.

So, what is the true worth of the Good News? Let’s consider the question in another way. Are we willing to suffer for it? Or, do we shrink away from sharing it? When we know the answer to those questions, we will know the power of the Good News in our lives.

When was the last opportunity you had to share your faith? What happened?