Key verse: 2 Timothy 2:2
Big idea: Generations could not stop Jesus.
Every three weeks, a group of friends and I spend an hour or so answering people's biblical questions in a live Facebook video. Recently, instead of a question, someone sent us a video clip from an old TV show and asked for our reflections on it. Most of the comments were the kind of claims that all religions basically taught the same thing which was popular at the end of the 20th century (this has fallen out of fashion now and been replaced with the idea that all truth is subjective) but one particular point the video tried to make was very interesting. A young child asked: "If Jesus wanted us all to know about Him, why didn't He wait to come until He could appear on television?"
This is a novel objection; for most of history, people asked why Jesus appeared so far along in history (that is why we sing in Hark the Herald Angels Sing: "Late in time behold Him come"). But it leads to an even more interesting question, I think. Why only come once? Why not come once early in history, once in the middle and again toward the end? Well, that might not satisfy everyone. So maybe come 6 times? Those in between would still doubt. Maybe come once every generation? A fresh revelation every few decades, so no one has to get it secondhand. God certainly could have done it this way. Although the perfect sacrifice of Jesus needed to be accomplished only once, He could have reissued the Bible every generation with a new slate of miracle wielding prophets or He could have become incarnate, preached and flown up into the heavens again. But He did not.
Neither did He relegate His love and His care to a single generation. Instead, He came once and for all, but carried the message to all generations. He called on Paul to entrust the Word to Timothy. Then He called on Timothy to entrust the Word to someone else. That person entrusted it to yet another. The baton has been moving from hand to hand ever since. For two thousand years, God has kept His message alive by the steady passage of the truth from generation to generation. No one is saved by the gospel preached by an angel. The ministry of reconciliation is ours and if we neglect it, it is neglected.
Discussion idea: Why doesn't Jesus appear every few years? What does God teach us by having us pass the same unchanging truth on personally?
Prayer focus: Lord, make me the kind of faithful person that Paul wrote about, who can be trusted with this treasure of the gospel of Christ.