FOR THE SAKE OF THE GOSPEL

Scripture Reading:  Acts 16:1-5

“Paul wanted Timothy to accompany him, and he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in those places, for they all knew his father was a Greek.  As they went on their way through the cities, they delivered to them for observance the decisions that had been reached by the apostles and elders who were in Jerusalem.” (Acts 16:3,4)

As Paul and Silas began the second missionary journey, they came to Lystra where they met Timothy.  Paul was so impressed with this young man that he wanted Timothy to join him and Silas on their mission.  This was the beginning of the very special relationship that Paul had with Timothy.  Timothy became like a son to Paul and Paul invested his life in Timothy.

I am so deeply touched by what is said of Timothy in this passage.  Timothy was willing to be circumcised for the sake of his missionary work, even though it was unnecessary as the Jerusalem Council had stated (Acts 15).  He voluntarily yielded to this in order not to create an unnecessary hindrance to the mission work among the Jews.

Paul did not want to get side tracked by the Jews over non-essentials.  It was Paul’s practice to go to the synagogues first, and thus having an uncircumcised Jew with him would have made his witness to Jews more difficult.  Remember that Timothy had a Jewish father and Gentile mother.  Because he grew up in the region, the Jews would have known of his mixed family background.  Thus, if Timothy was circumcised, it would be much easier for him to witness to the Jews.

Paul’s words to the Corinthians help us understand this better:  “For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them.  To the Jews I became a Jew, in order to win Jews.  To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law).  To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak.  I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some.  I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I might share with them in its blessings” (I Corinthians 9:19-23).

Lord Jesus, enable me to be a servant of all for the sake of the gospel.  I desire to be Your faithful witness to all kinds of people.  I praise You that You became one of us in order to save us.  May I be willing to give my all for the sake of the gospel.

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