When Paul sent his instructions to Timothy about praying for kings and authorities, Nero, one of most cruel of the Roman Emperors, had already begun to rule. Christian churches and isolated believers were scattered across Nero’s vast empire and their freedom to worship was under threat. The story goes that, later, Nero accused the Christians for having started the fire which almost consumed Rome.
It is against the backdrop of this unstable, volatile, political context that Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 2:1-4, “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people – for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Saviour, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth’.
I wonder whether Paul’s words remain relevant for us today. Personally, I think they do. What matters is that Christians live a life of godliness and holiness, and that all people are saved and come to a knowledge of the truth. In our current climate of contentious political debates, let’s not forget the Gospel of Jesus Christ. What matters most, surely, is that, whatever happens politically, the Gospel be preached with power and certainty. We are ambassadors for Christ before we are members or supporters of any political party. Our identity first is in Christ.
Let’s pray for God’s kingdom to come and for his Gospel to be preached as we wait for Christ’s return in this increasingly uncertain world.
Have an uplifting and wonderful Pentecost weekend, and let’s celebrate the inclusiveness of God’s grace.
Much love from Shirley and me,