Paul has a few personal tasks for Timothy before he closes his letter. These might sound mundane to some but they were of great importance to Paul. He fought hard and wanted a couple of comforts at the end.
This is the last letter that Paul writes, that we have anyway. This is also his second time in a Roman prison. The second time is nothing like the first. The first time he was a “prisoner” he actually lived in a house he rented. He had guards but was able to entertain visitors and interact fairly freely with his neighbors. This time, he is not treated gently. In my efforts to learn more about this time, I found a reputable write-up about it at Biblehub.com. Check it out if you wish.
Paul knows, from the tenor of his encounters with the courts, that he is not getting out this time except through death. He is ready for this and looks forward to seeing Jesus. He is not angry at this outcome or fighting it tooth and nail. He simply wishes for a few of his best friends to be present with him for support and a couple of his treasured belongings.
Timothy is the closest thing to a son Paul has. He wants him beside him in the end. He also asks for Mark to come along. He doesn’t send word to Mark directly but asks Timothy to bring him when he comes. I wonder if they arrived before Paul’s death or if it was too late by the time they got there. Did Luke stay with Paul until the end? I wish he would have included more in Acts about the end of Paul’s life. The site I mentioned earlier has some rational for that but I can still wish, can’t I?
Paul’s plea reminds me of a dying man asking for his children to visit him one last time. “Please come to me and bring your brother too. Bring my papers, my magnum opus, with you. I left it in the hands of a friend but I want it so I can pass it on personally to my children. There is still a lot of work to be done and I can’t leave peacefully until I know you and your brothers have all the tools I can provide to continue my work.”
I can imagine Timothy’s response to this plea too. The early tone of Paul’s last letter didn’t sound as urgent as this section does. How Timothy’s heart must have broken. His spiritual father was resigned to leaving him. Yes, he had studied at his feet, followed his every move, and developed a deep abiding relationship with the same Lord and Savior. But he still wasn’t ready for Paul’s death. He still sought his counsel. He still wrote to him about his troubles, and successes. He still shined when Paul praised his efforts.
I don’t doubt that he RAN to where Mark was and together they went to him as fast as they could. Of course they HAD to stop and get the items Paul requested. This was probably the fastest trip of their lives. They had to get there in time! But did they?
Regardless if they made it in time, with all Paul had requested, they knew Paul was in good hands. God would see Paul safely home, no matter what else happened. Paul stood alone the first time, EXCEPT for the Holy Spirit. That same Spirit would be with him until, and through, the moment of his death. That truth alone had to be enough to sustain Timothy and Mark on their final journey to Paul’s side. “I’ll do my best, knowing that my ‘best’ is not enough. But more than that, I’ll put my trust in Him who is ALWAYS faithful. THAT is the BEST thing I can do.”
Father God, I love my parents and know that it is going to hurt when I no longer have them with me. I pray I can be there when they leave this world to meet you. I don’t want it to be for a LONG time! But no matter what else happens, I KNOW they are safe in Your hands. Me being there won’t change their eternity but it will impact my heart here and now.
Thank You that Paul had time to make his last requests. Thank You for faithful friends who honored those requests. I pray I have such faithful friends in my life. I know I have faithful family at least. I guess that was what Timothy was to him; his family. Thank You that I’m counted as part of that family too; the family of God. Into Your hands again I commit my life; now and forever more. To anyone else who joins this Wonderful family, welcome to the family!