Before you read the passage, think back over the last year and count up your real friends and then count up any that have seemed to be against you; unkind perhaps or critical of your stand for Jesus , or even critical of your claim to be a Christian when you make a mess of things.
Friends and Enemies
In this passage Paul speaks from the heart in sadness over those that have opposed his ministry; often it appears that folk that he trusted have turned their back on his straightforward proclamation of the basic truths of the Gospel.
Of course right through both Old and New Testaments God’s chosen prophets and leaders, and ultimately his only Son, have faced massive opposition. And this will be our experience too if we make a stand for anything. Our intent should be that when put to the test, we will STAND UP FOR JESUS.
So as Paul dwells on his disappointments, you can almost sense his face lighting up with his confidence in his Lord and Master and knowledge that he has
‘fought the good fight, finished the race, kept the faith.’ (v7)
How and When Did Paul Die?
The Bible does not say anything specific about Paul’s death, but the note below gives some insight into what might have happened.
2 Timothy was written during Paul’s second Roman imprisonment in AD 64—67. There are a few different Christian traditions in regards to how Paul died, but the most commonly accepted one comes from the writings of Eusebius, an early church historian. Eusebius claimed that Paul was beheaded at the order of the Roman emperor Nero or one of his subordinates. Paul’s martyrdom occurred shortly after much of Rome burned in a fire—an event that Nero blamed on the Christians.
But we do know where he went when he died:-
18 The Lord ….. will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Let us dwell for a moment on what we expect from life:-
On one had we could choose the easy way with lots of casual friends, oodles of possessions to keep us comfortable, status at work, academic success ….
We could choose a harder road where we sacrifice comforts, fame, material wealth for the sake of the Gospel ……
Pray that we may have the faith and strength to take the harder road.