This week’s treatment of the International Sunday School Lesson (for April 3) is written by Nicholas Cox who serves with Community Christian Church in White Marsh, Maryland.
Remember Jesus Christ (2 Timothy 2:8-19)
By Nicholas Cox
When I moved from Maryland to Tennessee to attend seminary, I had an odd fear I couldn’t shake. Sure, there were logistics to figure out and hundreds of miles to travel. I had the normal butterflies when it came to meeting new people and facing new challenges. There was also concern caused by moving from an urban setting to a rural one; I wasn’t anxious to meet any wildlife. Yet, none of these caused the lingering fear I felt.
When I moved, my niece was 2. In those two short years, I’d grown close to her, and I was disappointed that the move would make it so I saw her once or twice a year instead of twice a week. I was worried that when I saw her again, she wouldn’t remember me. Would she remember I loved her and cared for her deeply?
The Risk Jesus Took
It strikes me that Jesus took the same risk with us. He was near us, close enough to reach out and touch. He taught what it meant to really live to the fullest. Through his life and his word he showed us what the invisible God was like. And when his time on earth was through, Jesus returned to Heaven.
But would those he left behind remember? Would they remember the things he said? Would they remember he loved them? Or would they simply forget? And if they did remember, would they remember Jesus as he really was or would they substitute a distorted version?
After all, forgetting is an easy thing to do. With a world full of noise and motion and distractions, forgetfulness comes effortlessly. Even the most significant things fade from our minds over time. Even some of the most significant people fade.
There was another significant issue as well. Not only was the human propensity for forgetfulness in play, but also the intentional forgetfulness pressed upon them by teachers who desired to twist and alter the memory of Jesus, sometimes for their own gain, other times because they too were deceived.
Is it any wonder Paul warns Timothy to remember Jesus, to remember he was raised from the dead, and that he was from the line of David? In a world that did everything to help him forget, Timothy was exhorted to hold onto the true gospel, to hold onto the faith he first received, and to hold onto Jesus Christ. Remember, Paul tells Timothy, because there are others, the elect, that also need to hear about Jesus, that also need to remember. Remember, Paul says, and then remind the others to remember.
Four Squiggly Lines
I received an e-mail from my niece, via my brother (computers are difficult to navigate for toddlers), a couple of months after I’d moved. The e-mail consisted of a single photograph, the subject of which was almost indiscernible, and two lines of text. It was a photo of four squiggly blue lines, intersecting at odd angles, obviously drawn in crayon. A short caption to the photo explained that my niece had drawn it. When asked what she had drawn, she said it was her Uncle Nic (that’s me, in case there was any confusion). She remembered me. Kind of. The blue lines didn’t resemble me, not even in the slightest. How could they? I’m much more complex than four blue lines. But it was an attempt by a small child to remember someone who loved her.
We all know what it’s like to “kind of” remember someone. We remember their name, maybe their face, but we don’t really know who they are. Anyone who is a follower of Jesus or who is interested in learning more about Jesus is working with a person whose physical body left the earth about 2,000 years ago. All of us are the equivalent of kids with crayons doing our best to draw a picture of God, which may or may not be composed exclusively of four squiggly lines that meet at odd angles. We are all struggling to remember.
Of course, we might never fully remember Jesus. How could we? Jesus is much more complex than we can grasp this side of Heaven. But it is a struggle worth fighting for. It’s a struggle worth investing our time and energy.
May we all remember.
*Scripture quotations are from the New International Version, unless otherwise indicated.
|HOME DAILY BIBLE READINGS|
|March 28: Acts 3:11-16|
|March 29: Romans 1:1-7|
|March 30: Titus 3:1-7|
|March 31: Matthew 26:17-30|
|April 1: 1 Corinthians 11:23-33|
|April 2: 2 Corinthians 6:1-10|
|April 3: 2 Timothy 2:8-19|
ABOUT THE LESSON WRITER: Nicholas Cox is small group and spiritual formation minister with Community Christian Church in White Marsh, Maryland. He holds an MDiv from Emmanuel School of Religion, Johnson City, Tennessee.