Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Greetings


Greetings are important. What we say and how we say it will determine where the conversation goes. For example;
If I say:                                                 
"Hey!" very largely and with a smile, you might assume I’m very excited to see you.
"Hi", mumbling and very softly, you might ask what’s wrong.
"Oh, it’s you guys…again", you might assume I don’t like you.
"Sup?" while coolly nodding my head, you might assume I’m cooler than I actually am.
Greetings are important. Which is why I think Paul was purposeful when he began his letter to Tim. In the very first verse, we learn who Paul is and what he is about.
1 Timothy 1:1
“Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope,”
An apostle – this is not just any joe writing with some thoughts.
An apostle of Christ Jesus – you have to know who you work for.
An apostle of Christ Jesus by the command of God – Paul didn’t apply for this job and beat out other applicants with an impressive resume. He was an apostle by the command of God.
But the greeting doesn’t stop there. Who is Paul writing to?
1 Timothy 1:2
“To Timothy my true son in the faith:”
Tim is Paul’s true son in the faith. We skip over that too quickly. We tend to read that with a bro-ski mentality. Yeah, Tim is that cool preacher dude who had that cool older friend who likes to write letters.
We mentally skip over what it means to be a son. But for followers of Jesus, being a son had taken on great meaning. A son shared the characteristics of his father. But it was more than simply having the same hair color or body type as your father. This was being of the same essence as your father.
This is why it was interpreted as blasphemy when Jesus claimed God as Father. It meant that Jesus believed He shared the characteristics of God the Father. Which He did!
So why is it so important that Paul calls Tim a true son in the faith? It’s because of what Paul was about to write. He had warnings for false teachers. He would share the gospel. Later in the letter, he will give instructions on worship, church leadership, and give advice about relationships.
But who was going to read this letter and then actually teach the Ephesians? Back in the day, letters were read out loud to the churches. Who would read this letter? It would be Tim. And when he taught some of these difficult matters, people might ask, ‘Well, who is Tim to be teaching us?’ After all, he’s just some punk kid!  
Timothy is the true son in the faith of Paul.
Who is Paul?
Paul is an apostle of Christ Jesus by the command of God!
Now let me ask you something. Who are you? You might point to your earthly heritage and tell me your parents’ names and your grandparents’ names. But you have a spiritual heritage. You have pastors and teachers. Who are they? True sons of faith of their pastors and teachers.
We have a long ancestry of pastors and teachers, each passing their faith along to the next generation. It all points back to God our Savior and Christ Jesus our hope. God commanded Paul. Paul passed it down to Timothy. And the gospel of Jesus has survived and been carried along to this day, where it now rests with you, true sons and daughters of the faith.
And so I greet you. May you continue to pass on the gospel message that has been passed on to you. You are nothing less than messengers of the greatest story ever told.

No comments: