Our devotional reading is an excerpt from one of John Chrysostom’s own works, as printed in A Year with the Church Fathers.
In this excerpt from his Homilies on 2 Timothy, Chrysostom remarks on how the imprisoned Paul encouraged the disciple Timothy. Paul reminds Timothy that though people who believe in Jesus may suffer because of their faith, they need not be ashamed. Jesus suffered for us on the cross, and He did so willingly out of great love for us!
[Paul] does not say, “Do not fear,” but to encourage [Timothy] more, he says, “Do not be ashamed” (2 Timothy 1:8), as if there were no further danger if he could overcome the shame. Indeed, shame is only oppressive when one is overcome by it. [Paul means,] “Therefore do not be ashamed if I, who raised the dead, wrought miracles, and traveled the world, am now a prisoner. I am imprisoned not as an evildoer but for the sake of Him who was crucified. If my Lord was not ashamed of the cross, neither am I of chains.” It is right that when Paul exhorts Timothy not to be ashamed, he reminds him of the cross. He means, If you are not ashamed of the cross, then neither be ashamed of chains. If our Lord and Master endured the cross, much more should we [endure] chains. For he who is ashamed of what He endured is ashamed of Him who was crucified. Now it is not on my own account that I bear these chains; therefore, do not give way to human feelings, but bear your part in these sufferings. “Share in suffering for the gospel” (2 Timothy 1:8). He does not say this as if the Gospel could suffer injury but to excite his disciple to suffer for it. . . .
He again consoles [Timothy] especially because it was a hard thing to say, “Share in suffering.” Undergo these things, not by your own power but by the power of God. It is yours to choose and be zealous, but God’s to alleviate sufferings and bid them cease. He then shows him the proofs of God’s power. Consider how you were saved, how you were called. . . . If, then, He is mighty in calling us, and good, in that He did it by grace and not as though it was owed, we ought not to be afraid. For He who saved us by grace, while we were His enemies, when we should have perished, will He not much more cooperate with us when He sees us working? He says, “Not because of our works but because of His own purpose and grace” (2 Timothy 1:9); that is, no one compelling, no one counseling Him, but of His own purpose, from the impulse of His own goodness, He saved us (John Chrysostom, Homilies on 2 Timothy, 2).
O God, You gave to Your servant John Chrysostom grace to proclaim the Gospel with eloquence and power. As bishop of the great congregations of Antioch and Constantinople, he fearlessly bore reproach for the honor of Your name. Mercifully grant to all bishops and pastors such excellence in preaching and fidelity in ministering Your Word that Your people shall be partakers of the divine nature; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Devotional reading and prayer are from A Year with the Church Fathers, pages 30, 28 respectively © 2011 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.
Scripture quotations from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.