II Timothy 2:1-10
TIMOTHY, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me before many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier on service gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to satisfy the one who enlisted him. An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. It is the hardworking farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops. Think over what I say, for the Lord will grant you understanding in everything.
Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, descended from David, as preached in my gospel, the gospel for which I am suffering and wearing fetters like a criminal. But the word of God is not fettered. Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain salvation in Christ Jesus with its eternal glory.
St. John Chrysostom in his Homily 4 on Second Timothy said:
“…this exhortation he introduces with much affection, calling him, ‘son,’ and not only so, but ‘my son.’ If you are a son, he means, imitate your father. If you are a son, be strong in consideration of the things which I have said, or rather be strong, not merely from what I have told you, but ‘of God.’ ‘Be strong,’ he says, ‘in the grace that is in Christ Jesus’; that is, ‘through the grace of Christ.’ That is, stand firmly. You know the battle. For elsewhere he says, ‘We wrestle not against flesh and blood.’ (Eph. 6:12) And this he says not to depress but to excite them. Be sober therefore, he means, and watch, have the grace of the Lord cooperating with you, and aiding you in your contest, contribute your own part with much alacrity and resolution…”
“‘Thou therefore endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.’ Oh, how great a dignity is this, to be a soldier of Jesus Christ! Observe the kings on earth, how great an honor it is esteemed to serve under them. If therefore the soldier of the king ought to endure hardness, not to endure hardness is not the part of any soldier. So that it behooves you not to complain, if you endure hardness, for that is the part of a soldier; but to complain, if you dost not endure hardness.”
“…it is not enough that he enters into the lists, that he is anointed, and even engages, unless he comply with all the laws of the exercise, with respect to diet, to temperance and sobriety, and all the rules of the wrestling school, unless, in short, he go through all that is befitting for a wrestler, he is not crowned. And observe the wisdom of Paul. He mentions wrestlers and soldiers, the one to prepare him for slaughter and blood, the other with reference to endurance, that he might bear everything with fortitude, and be ever in exercise.”
“(regarding v.10) …though bound with a chain, yet he smote him that was invested with a diadem. Such is the power of Christ. The chain surpassed the kingly crown, and this apparel was shown more brilliant than that. Clothed in filthy rags, as the inhabitant of a prison, he turned all eyes upon the chains that hung on him, rather than on the purple robe. He stood on earth bound down and stooping low, and all left the tyrant mounted on a golden chariot to gaze on him. And well they might. For it was customary to see a king with white horses, but it was a strange and unwonted sight to behold a prisoner conversing with a king with as much confidence as a king would converse with a pitiful and wretched slave. The surrounding multitudes were all slaves of the king, yet they admired not their lord, but him who was superior to their Lord. And he before whom all feared and trembled, was trampled upon by one solitary man. See then how great was the brightness of these very chains!”
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