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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

(10) Timothy

His name was Timothy which is Hebrew. The Greek translation is Timotheos and means "honoring God".
He was from a place called Lystra, which was in what we know as Turkey. This is where his mentor of faith, Paul, first meets him. This meeting may perhaps may have set his life in motion and caused him more suffering, yet more honor, than anything else in his life. Timothy's family is mentioned in the New Testament. It is said that he had a mother and grandmother of Jewish faith and his father was Greek. Nothing else is known about his father. Many think he was dead by the time he met Paul. This is probably why Paul took him under his wing so easily.

Apparently Timothy in his younger days followed in his father's culture because it is said that he was uncircumcised and if he followed Jewish custom this would have happened in the 8th day of his life. But it seems as though he started to follow his Jewish roots as he was grew a little older. The women in his family influenced him from birth. Paul circumcised him personally. Which is another reason to believe that his father had died.

Here is where Timothy's story comes in to play. He was young, compared to Paul (1 Timothy 4:12). When Paul calls him this it is around 64 AD and this had been 20 years after Paul had picked him up as a companion. He was respected in his community. He was compassionate (Philippians 2:20-22) and committed to his work (Hebrews 13:23-24). But he was timid at times and showed some fear for Paul had to remind him not to be like that (2 Timothy 1:6-7). The question is why was he in fear. This fear may have been a cause of his sickness that Paul mentions (1 Timothy 5:23). Somewhere along his life he had developed an attitude that needed strengthening. And in the end he made it. Timothy may have been the last face of a companion that Paul saw before his execution. Timothy may have stayed with him until the end.
His Life Changing Experience:
Back in Lystra, when Timothy was still with his grandmother and mother, he may have seen something that scared his young mind. In Acts 16 Paul meets up with Timothy and takes him under his wing. But it's probably not the first time Timothy saw Paul. In Acts 14 Paul goes to Lystra and preaches but some of the Jewish faith (Timothy's own people) found Paul and stoned him so much that they thought he was dead. This could be anywhere from 5-10 years earlier than when Paul takes Timothy as his student and son in the faith. Timothy may have seen this stoning with his own eyes. Paul was stoned for his faith and now wants Timothy to travel with him, and at such a young age, 20 years earlier than when Paul actually calls him young. Maybe his sickness and his timidity started here when he witnessed what his future may have to be if he followed this man. This may have haunted him his whole life.
His Importance:
Timothy at the first stage of his life was a man with a shadow. He had a history darkened by one event. Later in life he becomes an emissary, an apostle if you will (1 Thessalonians 2:6). He becomes a church leader, the lead pastor, but not the preacher (1 Timothy 1:3-4). And because of his calling, Paul tells the NT Church what to look for in leaders. Some historians have him living from 17-80 AD. If that is the case, then he met Paul when he was around 25 but may have witnessed the stoning at the age of 15. History and the Roman Catholic Church will name him the 1st Bishop of Ephesus. Tradition says he was trying to break up a pagan ritual where they stopped him, dragged him through the street and, yes, stoned him to death, making him a martyr and instead of a man with a shadow he became a man with a reason!

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