Second Reading: 2 Timothy 2:8-13
How do you keep Jesus in mind throughout your day? Who helps you in this effort?
8 Keep Jesus Christ in mind. He was the descendent of David and rose from the dead. This is the Good News I preach. 9 And I have suffered for my activity. Officials have even thrown me in jail like a criminal. But even jail cannot contain God’s word! 10 I endure everything for Christians, so they can be saved and have eternal life with Christ Jesus. 11 You can trust this:
“If we die together with Jesus, we will live together
12 If we stick it out together, we will rule together with him.
If we turn our backs on him, he will turn his back on us.
13 But, if we don’t trust Jesus, he will remain faithful to us,
because he is not able to deny himself.”
8 Call JESUS CHRIST to mind, having been raised from the dead, (born) from the seed of David, by the Good News of my (preaching), 9 in which I suffer greatly, up to imprisonment as a criminal, but the word of God has not been chained. 10 Because of this, I endure everything for the sake of the community members, so that they might obtain salvation in CHRIST JESUS with eternal glory. 11 (This) word is trustworthy:
“For if we die together (with HIM), we will live (with
12 If we endure together (with HIM), we will reign together (with HIM).
If we deny (HIM), that (ONE) will also deny us.
13 If we do not trust (HIM), that (ONE) remains faithful,
for HE is not able to deny HIMSELF.”
2:8 “Call Jesus Christ to mind” can also be translated “Remember Jesus Christ.” Of course, the author did not mean the psychological exercise of using mental imagery to envision past events. This phrase had a much deeper meaning. Timothy was to place himself in the presence of Christ, just as the community was to place itself in the presence of Christ during the breaking of the bread (“Do this in memory of me”).
“by the Good News of my (preaching)” is literal “by the Good News of mine.” In English, the possessive pronoun “mine” denotes ownership. The author implied Paul was the first to preach the Good News among many Gentiles; hence, the message came from him. But, by no means was this Good News exclusively his.
2:9 “up to imprisonment” is literally “until chains.”
2:10 “for the sake of the community members” The term “community members” is literally “ecclesia members.” “Ecclesia” is Greek for “church.” Some translate the term as “elect” or “select.”
2:11-13 This series of “if...then” statements forms a poetic structure that many scholars hold believe was an early baptismal hymn (11b stated the baptismal theme of death with Christ and rising with him). Notice the communal aspects of the hymn.
Why do people evangelize? Why are people will to endure great suffering to share what they believe in? These few verses in 2 Timothy give us a key. People will even die to remain in the presence of Jesus Christ.
“Remember Jesus Christ.” These words were not only addressed to a young minister who never met the “historical” Jesus. They were meant for every Christian. As the note above stated, this imperative urged followers to worship in the presence of the Lord and to live life as if he were present. More to the point, the believer was to be Christ for others. Such witness built up the Church, even if that witness led to suffering, imprisonment, and death.
Obviously, the Christian could not do this alone. In fact, the act of “remembering” Christ was meant to be a communal activity. The hymn found in 2:11-13 stressed that fact. The act began at baptism (dying with him to live with him). If the community remained faithful (i.e., remained in the presence of the Lord), its members would enjoy the Lord’s blessings: eternal life and glory. If the community did not, the Lord would test the members by withdrawing his blessings. But he would always work toward their return to his presence.
So, why do people evangelize? They want to share the presence of Christ with others. It’s that simple.
How have you been evangelized? How have you evangelized others? What happened?