2 Timothy 2:8-15 (NRSV)
8 Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, a descendant of David—that is my gospel, 9 for which I suffer hardship, even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But the word of God is not chained. 10 Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, so that they may also obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory. 11 The saying is sure:
If we have died with him, we will also live with him;
12 if we endure, we will also reign with him;
if we deny him, he will also deny us;
13 if we are faithless, he remains faithful—
for he cannot deny himself.
14 Remind them of this, and warn them before God that they are to avoid wrangling over words, which does no good but only ruins those who are listening. 15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved by him, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly explaining the word of truth.
A thoughtful, committed congregant recently told me his problem with the Apostles' Creed: the entirety of Jesus' life between his birth and death is reduced to a single comma. "Kevin, is this all we are supposed to remember about Jesus? Do his life and teachings not matter, compared to his death?"
What does it mean to heed the author of 2 Timothy's exhortation to "remember Jesus Christ"? Is it internalizing a series of doctrinal claims, like that Jesus is raised from the dead? Is it remembering a real flesh-and-blood person, like Jesus, born of Mary, descended from David?
Wrapping language around Jesus is tough — and that's the point! The author of 2 Timothy says the Word of God is not chained. It cannot be contained or reduced to a series of doctrinal formula or silenced by declining church attendance. It is not our responsibility to ensure that Jesus will not be forgotten.
Yet we are called to remember him. Who or what inspires you to remember Jesus Christ?
Unchained God, you exceed the limits of what we can comprehend, yet you desire to be known by us. Plant yourself in our memories and guide us in the practice of remembering you. Amen.