Though this passage begins with an exhortation about the importance of praying for our worldly leaders, the author quickly shifts away from earthly authority to true divine authority. The author asserts that, regardless of mortal leadership, there is only one God and only one mediator between God and humanity—Jesus Christ.
We generally understand this theological belief as the doctrine of divine sovereignty, the belief that God is omniscient (all-knowing), omni-benevolent (all-good), and omnipotent (all-powerful). Essentially this means that even if kings and principalities hold sway over people on earth, God is still the only one with true authority and power. It matters, moreover, how God, in Christ Jesus, uses this power and authority as described by the author of First Timothy. The author writes, “Christ Jesus, himself human, . . . gave himself a ransom for all.” Jesus Christ, who has access through God to absolute power, chooses to express that power through mercy and grace and self-sacrifice for the sake of humanity.
We know that all humans are flawed and that power often corrupts those who have it. When we look at worldly leaders now and throughout history, it’s easy to grow discouraged by their shortcomings. Even those with true hearts for justice and care are often deeply flawed, and this reality can leave us unmoored and unsure of where to place our trust. This passage reminds us that ultimately we must place our trust in Jesus.
God, thank you for sending your Son to connect us to you. Thank you for using your power in the service of love and grace. Help me to place my trust in you. Amen.
Jeremiah, “the weeping prophet,” grieves for the plight of his people. They have provoked God’s judgment by following foreign gods, and now there is no comfort to be found. The psalmist cries out to God from a similar situation of despair. Foreign nations have overrun the land, destroyed Jerusalem, and killed many of its people. The psalmist cries out to God for compassion and restoration. The author of First Timothy gives his readers two commands. They should pray for and honor their leaders, and they should be faithful to the one true God, with whom they have a relationship through Christ Jesus. Jesus in Luke tells a strange parable about a dishonest manager who is commended for his shrewd business sense, but Jesus turns his story into a teaching about good stewardship.
Read Jeremiah 8:18–9:1. When have you called out to God in distress?
Read Psalm 79:1-9. As you search for solutions to life’s problems, how do you demonstrate God’s call to love and to justice?
Read 1 Timothy 2:1-7. How do you pray for your local, state or province, and national leaders with whom you agree? with whom you disagree?
Read Luke 16:1-13. How do you negotiate the complexities of Jesus’ call to be a good steward of your resources as you work to serve God rather than money?
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