“Come to see me soon,” he pleaded; “And come before winter.” The old saint knew the distance by sea and land between Ephesus and Rome was great, and he was sure that the trip could not be made successfully in winter.
J. Oswald Sanders wrote: “The lovely friendship of Paul the aged with young Timothy is a classic example of a satisfying friendship between old and young.”
Sanders continued, “How enriching it was for Timothy, and what a comfort he was to Paul the aged!”
It had been a long time since Paul had been a free man. Moreover, he was now facing the end of his life because of his faith.
Concerning freedom, William Cowper said: “To die for the truth is not to die merely for one’s faith, or one’s country; it is to die for the world.
Cowper said further: “Their blood is shed in conformation of the noblest claim — the claim to feed upon immortal truth, to walk with God, and be divinely free.”
Paul, the grand old soldier of the cross, lay in a cold dungeon waiting to be executed. He was quite sure that he would not see another spring.
So, if Timothy did not come soon, there would be no need for him to come at all. It would be too late.
The Apostle asked Timothy to bring his coat, his books, and his parchments. In the confusion of his arrest, he must have been denied even his personal possessions.
So the old preacher was cold, and he was longing to have something to read. One can imagine that he especially desired to have his Old Testament scrolls.
Furthermore, he yearned for his parchments (writing materials). In a sense, these were meager things to request. He did not ask for food, sympathy, or fine clothes.
If only he had his old coat from Troas, his books, and writing materials, he could be content. How he must have yearned for God’s Word!
In his book titled, “I was a Communist Prisoner,” Haralan Popoff, a pastor, told how deeply he desired to have a Bible to read. One day a cell-mate produced a New Testament which he had found.
From it, he tore out a leaf to use in rolling a cigarette. Popoff was so thrilled and excited at just the sight of the Testament that he begged the prisoner to let him have it, which he did.
This preacher, not having seen a Bible for years, studied the Testament on the sly every opportune moment he had.
Within a few days he had memorized 47 chapters, for he knew that as soon as the guard discovered that he had a Testament, it would be taken and destroyed.
And just as he feared, the book was taken from him. Nonetheless, he feasted for months upon the chapters which he had memorized.
“Come before winter, “Paul had pled. Surely Timothy must have gotten there. One can imagine that Timothy immediately turned his pastoral responsibilities over to another person and struck out for Rome.
Paul was encouraged by the presence of the young pastor during his last hours.
As the aged apostle hobbled away to the guillotine, he must have leaned heavily on the understanding arm of Timothy.
The support of a kind, encouraging Christian brother at such an hour is of inestimable value — more than words can express.
“Come before winter,” Paul had said. Such a statement can be made relevant to our turning to Christ.
Jeremiah, writing to a people a great deal like us lamented, “The harvest is past, the summer has ended, and we are not saved” (Jeremiah 8:20, NIV).
We are not to wait until the summer is past and the harvest is ended before coming to the Lord — that may be too late. Sometimes it is difficult for one to come to God when his soul is in the grip of a spiritual winter.
We should not put off seeking the Lord until we face the cold, clammy clutches of Death. Rather, we should surrender to the Lord while in good health and respond to the beckoning of the fervent Holy Spirit when all is well.
Nonetheless, God is so compassionate, He will accept us any time. However, may we all come to the Lord Jesus “before winter.