It reminds me of what Jesus did. Laying down the glory of heaven and the privileges that comes with being God’s son, to be born into sinful and chaotic earth, live a poor man’s life and die a criminal’s death; all to fulfill God’s eternal salvation plan.
“Paul came first to Derbe, then Lystra. He found a disciple there by the name of Timothy, son of a devout Jewish mother and Greek father. Friends in Lystra and Iconium all said what a fine young man he was. Paul wanted to recruit him for their mission, but first took him aside and circumcised him so he wouldn’t offend the Jews who lived in those parts. They all knew that his father was Greek.”
Why did Paul have to circumcise Timothy before taking him along on his missionary journey? After all, the elders of the church had established earlier that non Jewish believers don’t need circumcision to be accepted by God.
Paul was reaching out to the Jewish community in Greece. Everyone in that community knows that Timothy’s father was Greek. Paul understood the controversy and debate that would bring and to avoid distraction from the message, he did what was needful.
Truth is, as ministers of the gospel, sometimes we put aside our ‘Understanding’ and do what we have to do for our message to be heard. If you’re going to reach out to people in northern Nigeria or any Islamic territory, for example, you will have to first understand the culture, then blend in by speaking the language maybe, learning the system of communication and even dressing to fit in. Avoid anything that will cause a distraction from your primary objective, which is to deliver the message if Christ.
I also believe that Timothy understood what was at stake to be willing to set aside his identity as a Greek and lay his body down. Circumcision as a grown man isn’t a palatable experience but he did it anyway. That’s a young man who is truly committed to the cause of the gospel.
I believe young Timothy understood God’s purpose for him as not just a believer but as a critical part of the spread of the gospel. Timothy was Paul’s protege. he lived at a time where he saw Apostles being beaten, jailed and heavily persecuted. He understood that purpose is bigger than him, it’s bigger than his identity as a Greek, and it’s definitely bigger than his comfort.
Timothy was willing to go though pain to birth purpose.
And then i think, what am i laying down for the gospel? what am i willing to set aside, what sacrifices am i willing to make, what pain am i willing to endure for God’s purpose to be birthed in me?