Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel, for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal. But the word of God is not bound! (2 Timothy 2:8-9, esv).
The ancient catacombs are six hundred miles of tunnels underneath Rome that were in use for three hundred years—a time when the church was so persecuted, being known as a Christ-follower would cost your life.
The most common inscription found on the tunnel walls is this phrase Paul penned to Timothy: “The word of God is not bound.” This is the enduring testimony of people who were imprisoned and suffering for their faith, losing loved ones, and dying in allegiance to Christ. They remembered Jesus with graffiti, and they rejoiced because neither Christ the living Word nor God’s written Word can ever be stopped.
Paul wrote this letter to Timothy from prison. A model to believers after him, he was going through one of the most difficult things a person can endure and choosing to focus on Jesus. Based on the context, Paul was basically saying, “Now, forget about the hardship for a moment and remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead. Think about how often you heard me talk about Him! He’s alive. Don’t forget that for a moment.”
Paul was “suffering, bound with chains as a criminal.” He had traveled the world, preaching the gospel and planting churches. Now he was chained like a criminal. But if we could see Paul in that awful prison, most likely we would see him sitting there with his hands and feet in stocks and a big grin on his face.
Why? He was remembering Jesus. He realized his own extreme limitations highlighted a great truth: “But the word of God is not bound!” This is the confidence available to the child of God.
This was a good word for Timothy and is a good word for us. We’re not following a loser—we’re following a Winner. We’ve been enlisted by One who completed His mission, cried “It is finished” (John 19:30), and conquered death! Jesus the Eternal Victor, Almighty God, King of Kings, and Lord of Lords. His tomb is empty! Don’t ever stray from that. Always remember you are serving Jesus Christ who is risen from the dead.
Can you rest in that confidence and rejoice in it? Whatever your challenges or limitations, Jesus has overcome everything. Bring to mind all He has done for you. He saved you from sin and its eternal consequences, lived the greatest life worth imitating, and He is now the Lord who guides and guards you.
Remember Jesus, the only One not limited or bound. He and His Word will accomplish all God intends for them to accomplish in you and through you.
Lord, I know remembering Jesus is more than just thinking about facts I can recite from His life. Remembering is letting His words and actions change the way I live. Continue to teach me through your Word that I can focus on You no matter what the circumstance. Your Word can accomplish anything in my life and in the life of others—so help me to be bold like Paul and realize my limitations are nothing compared to the power of Your Word. Keep pushing me along the way. In Jesus’ name, amen.