Ashamed vs Fearless Confidence

On November 1945 the famous trials of the International Military Tribunal opened in the specially reconstructed courtroom 600 in Nuremberg's Palace of Justice. Twenty-one leading officials of the Nazi regime sat in the dock at Nuremberg.  The trial lasted for 218 days, 240 witnesses were heard and 300,00 statutory declarations were examined.  After eleven months, in October 1946 the tribunal pronounced conclusive sentences, which to this day, remain a milestone in judicial history.

Still today, the city of Nuremberg, Germany, (renamed Nurnburg), carries a sense of shame about these dark chapters in Nuremberg's history. The Nazi's architectural megalomania still shows on the former party Rally Grounds. Covering eleven square kilometerrs, they intended to create monumental building projects. Only one building, the Pergaman Altar, was completed.

Timothy is based in Ephesus, one of three great cities of the Roman Empire. Timothy represents another so called "criminal" condemned and crucified in Jerusalem about 30-40 years previously.  In contrast to the glamorous, ornate temples in Ephesus, Timothy is a preacher of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  The Gospel seems so innocuous in comparison to the pantheon of gods at Ephesus.  There was increasing antagonism against christians and the christian church just as in the early twentieth century there was a rising tide throughout Europe and Russia against anyone who was a Jew (1900-1938).

So what can you say to a christian that is feeling a little intimidated, perhaps overwhelmed by the task of being a servant of the church, a servant of Jesus Christ? Paul writes this second letter to Timothy to reinforce his faith commitment to the Gospel (2 Tim 1:3-7).  In contrast to Nuremberg, the christian does not need to be ashamed about the Lord Jesus, the stigma of being a Christian, or the exclusive claims of the christian gospel.

Leon Uris in his book "Exodus" brilliantly shows how the Jews, despite the atrocities perpetuated against them, never gave up the hope of establishing the Jewish State in Israel. They lived with no thought of material gain for themselves, but only of the rebirth of Israel and of tomorrow. The christians focus, if limited to today will get caught up and distracted by powerful but non essential issues (2 Tim 2:7-3:9).

". . . Jesus suffered outside the city gate to make the people his own through his own blood (death/resurrection. Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore. For here (on earth) we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for a city that is to come" Hebrews 13:12-14.

Dr Keith Graham

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