“Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by command of God our Saviour and of Christ Jesus our hope,
To Timothy, my true child in the faith:
Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord”
(1 Timothy 1:1-2, ESV)
(1 Timothy 1:1-2, ESV)
As was the custom of the day, the writer opened the letter with his signature – Paul. I remember, when I wrote letters to my crush from the secondary school I used to end every letter with a signature. That’s how we do it. That’s what we taught to do. But not during Paul’s time. Anyway, knowing that this letter – 1 Timothy – was to have wide circulation and important, Paul doesn’t introduce to Timothy as his friend or mentor in the faith. But he officially identifies himself as “an apostle of Christ Jesus.” I bet Timothy knew that, but I think this letter is for us too – the Church and we Christians as individuals.
The word “apostle” simply means “one who is sent away” or “sending away” or “messenger.” What’s the different between disciple and apostle, you might ask? Well, we can argue at great length but put it simply: Every apostle was a disciple, but not every disciple was an apostle. The famous Twelve Apostles (Matthew 10:1-4; then without Judas Iscariot in Acts 2:14) and Paul, who was later added (Acts 14:14) was personally chosen by the Lord Jesus (but how about “apostles” in 1 Corinthians 12:28? Maybe next time we discuss about it). So, when Paul used an official title “an apostle of Christ Jesus”, he uses it here to establish an official relationship. Like saying to Timothy, “I’m writing this not as mere friend or elder to you, but as an apostle.” And noticed this, Paul wrote “Christ Jesus” and not “Jesus Christ” because – I interprets – Paul first knowing Jesus personally as a divine Risen Christ (Acts 9) not as human Jesus.
Paul give further authority to his calling by emphasizing that his appointment as an apostle was not of his own doing or self-appointed as many critics claimed. In nearly every letter (epistle) he emphasizes this appointment was “by the will of God.” Here he says it is “by command of God our Saviour and of Christ Jesus our hope.” This was equal to an official statement of the day, the same as saying “by the order of.” Paul knew he was called to be an apostle by the Almighty God and he did not take the calling lightly. May it be so with every child of God, no matter how high or low your and my calling may be, there are no unimportant children in the family of God.
Then see how Paul greeted Timothy – greets us. “Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.” Have you ever noticed that these three sweet words are always in this order in the greetings of the New Testament? Read your Bible again! Here how I see it: No one can have peace until first of all he or she has experienced the grace and mercy of God. And mercy follow grace because it is based on the grace of God. We deserve no mercy and find no peace apart from God’s grace! Oh yes! Yes, may those who seek and longing for true peace in their lives may know Jesus Christ, the source of God’s grace (1 Timothy 1:14).
THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.