“Remember [the gospel of] Jesus Christ…for which I suffer, even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But the word of God is not chained.” 2 Timothy 2:9b-10
The above words are believed to have been written by the Apostle Paul to his young disciple, Timothy, during the older man’s final imprisonment in Rome. Paul was imprisoned many times; beaten, stoned, rejected, and mocked during his travels proclaiming the freeing death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Is it rather ironic, isn’t it, that Paul would use the phrase “the word of God is not chained,” while he, himself, was a literal prisoner for proclaiming the message of God’s love so articulately, proudly, and passionately?
What holds us prisoner in this life? Time? Illness? Anger, pride, jealously, violence, hopelessness…? What holds our brothers and sisters in dire straits around the world prisoner, and how do we have the power to free them with our treasure, time or, perhaps, even our prayers? Paul was so compelling, as were the other disciples, because of his passionate belief that God had overturned the powers of the world through His love in Jesus Christ. When we trust completely in the reality that God has saved us and means for all of us to share the abundant life and hope of Jesus, what (truly) can stop us? The word of God is unchained in Jesus and love has come home to roost and we, thanks be to God, are the wondrous recipients of that love. “Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.” 2 Timothy 1:2b.