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, and for three hundred years, they were used as a prison. During this time, the Church was so persecuted that being known as a Christ-follower equated to a death sentence. Interestingly, 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 those imprisoned and suffering for their faith, losing loved ones, and dying in allegiance to Christ. They remembered Jesus with graffiti, and they rejoiced because they knew that neither Christ, the living Word, nor God’s written Word could ever be stopped.
Paul wrote this second letter to Timothy from a different prison. While enduring suffering, the apostle chose to focus on Jesus, basically saying, “Now ignore 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 in chains as a criminal.” He had traveled the world, preaching the gospel and planting churches. Now he was chained like a common criminal. But if we could see Paul in that awful prison, his hands and feet in stocks, we’d likely see joy 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!” Though Paul was in bondage, the truth was unleashed.
This was a good word for Timothy, and it’s a good word for us. We’re not following a loser—we’re following the 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! We can’t ever stray from that. We must always remember we’re serving “Jesus Christ, risen from the dead.”
Can you rest in that confidence—and rejoice in it? Whatever your challenges or limitations, like Paul, remember that Jesus has overcome everything, including sin and its eternal consequences. Remember Jesus, the only one not limited or bound. He and His unstoppable Word will accomplish all God intends in and through you.
Lord, I know remembering Jesus is more than just reciting facts about His life. I choose to remember Him—to think about Him and meditate on His words. No matter what the circumstances, I can focus on You. Your Word is unstoppable, unchanging, and unleashed. It can accomplish anything in my life and the lives of others. Like Paul, I can have confidence and boldness. In the name of “Jesus Christ, risen from the dead,” I pray, amen.