Paul suffered much while faithfully serving the Lord. He knew that his suffering arose because he was loyal to the Lord. He could have easily compromised his message (watering it down) and his methods (taking the politically correct route). But it was better to be faithful and suffer for it, than to be unfaithful and enjoy comfort and a false peace.
The Lord appointed Paul to the gospel ministry (v.11). His role was that of a herald (gospel preacher), apostle (missionary and appointed leader), and teacher (one who fed God’s flock with God’s truth). He proclaimed the gospel boldly, led with integrity, and taught diligently and faithfully. Now he was in prison and branded as an enemy of the state. Many avoided him to stay out of trouble. The great apostle was chained like an animal. Yet, Paul was not ashamed (v.12). There is no shame greater than the shame Jesus suffered for us in the humiliation of the cross. The next time you are humiliated for being loyal to Jesus, let Jesus look you in the eye to comfort and cheer you.
This brings us to the heart of Paul’s resilience and hope amid great difficulties. His relationship with Jesus was the solid foundation and anchor of his life and ministry. He declares, “I know whom I have believed” (v.12). Three things can be noted here.
First, trust. Paul believed in Jesus. He placed his faith in Jesus more than in anything or anyone else.
Second, intimacy. Paul had a close personal relationship with Jesus. He was familiar with the way the Lord was present every day, and with how He answered prayers, guided, protected, and provided for needs. Jesus was more than a doctrine or concept. Paul knew Him as a Person.
Third, confidence. Because he knew Jesus and trusted Him, Paul had unshakeable confidence that Jesus would guard what Paul had entrusted to Him for the final day (v.12; cf. 1 Peter 4:19). All that we entrust into the hands of the Lord (our lives, our future, and the results of our ministry) will remain safe with Jesus. No one can snatch us from His hands (John 10:28–30).
Reflect on the trust, intimacy, and confidence that marked Paul’s relationship with Jesus. How would you characterise your relationship with Jesus?
Verse 12 in the original Greek can also mean that Jesus will guard that which He had entrusted to Paul, namely the gospel. If so, what comfort did that bring to Paul then and to you now?