Following Jesus involves risk and tension. Is it really worth it? Watch the featured video, reflect on some questions, and go deeper into study on your own or with a group. If you're participating in our reading plan One Story that Leads to Jesus, this Reflections Bible Study lines up with week 48.
Once you've watched the featured video, take time to reflect on these questions.
What is one way this video expands your understanding of Paul’s letter to Timothy?
Name one thing you notice about the structure of the letter.
What is one specific way Paul encourages Timothy to face the risk of following Jesus?
Paul writes to Timothy under Roman guard, requesting that he come to visit. Paul’s repeated imprisonments for preaching the Gospel have earned him a bad reputation. Many have already distanced themselves from the negative stigma of being his friend, so Paul knows that asking Timothy to visit comes with a cost. Timothy will need great courage to be associated with Jesus and Paul’s sufferings, so Paul assures him that the risk is worth the cost. While others may reject and abandon Timothy, Jesus will always be faithful. Jesus knows what it is like to be abandoned, so his comforting presence is even more tangible in times of suffering. And even more than that, Timothy can be encouraged because hardships have an expiration date. Jesus’ resurrection proves that suffering will end and that resurrection for his followers is coming too. One day, all things will be made new. What can we learn from Paul’s encouragement to Timothy? In our culture today, what are the risks of following Jesus and supporting those who suffer with him? And why is following Jesus worth the risk?
Note the sentences that are written as commands. What does Paul urge Timothy to do? (see 1:6, 1:8, and 1:13-14) What do you observe about these instructions?
Why is Paul unashamed of the good news about Jesus even after his message has been so painfully opposed? (see 1:12, 2:8-10)
Paul compares following Jesus to being a soldier, athlete, and farmer. What does Paul point out about each of these roles (2:3-6)? What do these three examples have in common? Consider and name modern examples from your own culture that match Paul’s point and intentions.
Following Jesus is risky because it costs us things we formerly considered valuable, but what does the poem in 2 Timothy 2:11-13 say about the risk of not following Jesus? How do these words provide both comfort and warning?
How do you and your community experience the risks and tensions of following Jesus? How do communities beyond yours experience these risks? How does today’s reflection challenge or encourage you?