Holy Spirit, as I read today, conform my heart more closely to that of my Savior.
Read 1 TIMOTHY 2:1-7
Instructions on Worship
2 I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time. 7 And for this purpose I was appointed a herald and an apostle—I am telling the truth, I am not lying—and a true and faithful teacher of the Gentiles.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Incline your heart to pray and learn as the Spirit leads.
Having addressed doctrine (chapter 1), Paul continues his letter by focusing on the conduct of public worship. I wonder how your intercessions typically begin. Mine often focus on that which is occupying my mind, perhaps a family concern or someone battling illness. Paul’s prayer list here begins with those who exercise authority over us. What a challenge this would have been for Timothy and those under his pastoral care, given that no Christian ruler existed anywhere in the world at this point in history. While the Romans made all of their subjects pray to the emperor, the Jews were permitted to pray to their God ‘on behalf’ of the emperor.1
Paul notes that such prayer for those in authority ‘pleases God our Savior’ (v 3). This is not only a statement of the uniqueness of Christ but also a challenge to any claims of divinity attributed to the emperor. Moreover, Paul reemphasizes the uniqueness of the Savior as the ‘one mediator’ between God and human beings (v 5). Of this, Tom Wright notes, ‘Verse 5 offers an astonishing redefinition of Jewish monotheism, with Jesus in the middle of it.’2 Paul is not only challenging the Roman worship of Caesar but also the Jewish resistance to Jesus’ divinity.
This affront to the status quo within the context of public intercessions gives us another glimpse at the wonderful claims of the glorious gospel. Paul here emphasizes that ‘one’ God has given himself for ‘all’ people (vs 5,6). While debate will continue over the dichotomy of divine sovereignty and human responsibility, let us pause to rejoice in Christ who has given himself as our ransom. We were once powerless and chained up, but the price of securing our release has been met in full. Praise be to God!
Why not take a moment to pray for those in authority over us?
God, I confess that the order in my prayers has to do with my priorities and concerns. Show me your priorities and concerns as I come before you.
Last Updated on September 1, 2023 by kingstar