As Paul travels (now independent of Barnabas), he returns to Derbe and Lystra. “A disciple was there, named Timothy, the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer, but his father was a Greek. He was well spoken of by the brothers at Lystra and Iconium”(Acts 16:1-2). Timothy has become a Christian despite his father’s unbelief and has gained a positive reputation in the area. Always scouting for preaching help, Paul urges Timothy to join him.
But there is a problem. “Paul wanted Timothy to accompany him, and he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in those places, for they all knew that his father was a Greek”(Acts 16:3). Knowing that the Jews would not listen to an uncircumcised man, Paul takes him to be circumcised. This is staggering considering Acts 15 details Paul’s intense fight to ensure that Gentiles do not have to be circumcised. Timothy now travels with Paul, delivering the letter from the apostles and Jerusalem elders and strengthening the churches.
Timothy is not circumcised in order to be saved. He is circumcised because he trusts the judgment of Paul, revealing a tremendous level of confidence and submission. He is circumcised because he wants to preach to the Jews and wants to remove any obstacle to the reception of his message. He is circumcised because he is willing to sacrifice his own rights to further the gospel.
------------- One Thing to Think About: Am I more concerned with my “rights” or the spread of the gospel? What have I given up to help someone follow Jesus?
One Thing to Pray For: A spirit of selfless submission like Timothy’s
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Fairview Park church of Christ, 11820 Fairview Road, Little Rock, AR 72212
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