Last week I have said that Paul was prepared to forgive certain people who faded away upon realizing that Paul had a hearing and trial before the Imperial court. Being left alone and forsaken when in difficulties can be a rather discouraging experience.
Yet Paul who once had said that love keeps no record of wrongs, being deserted by many in these frightful days proved to be a man of stature and love. He desired that God should not hold it against them, that they failed him in his time of need.
Obviously, Paul was a spiritual man. He was full of the Holy Spirit and he was experiencing the love of God in his own heart. This would have helped him to forgive.
In the same chapter in 2 Timothy 4 Paul is giving another reason why he was able to forgive. In this decisive hour, he was relying on God to help him. “But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength…” (Verse 17a). Although others failed to support him he experienced his Lord and Saviour strengthening him.
As we read the second part of verse 17 we can discover something else. This is about Paul’s goals and desires. When facing the highest court of the world at the time he did not primarily worry about himself and what might happen to him. He rather kept to his previous goals of life.
Earlier he had sought to bring the good news of Jesus Christ to as many people as he could reach. For that purpose, he was traveling a lot and he was taking upon him many hardships. His great joy was when others came to believe in Jesus.
Now he also clung to this intention. Regardless of the outcome of the trial for himself, he wanted to proclaim the message he had been spreading in many parts of the empire. He wanted people to know it was commendable to believe in Jesus Christ.
“But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it.” (2 Timothy 4:17/NIV).