“At my first defense no one supported me, but all deserted me; may it not be counted against them.”-apostle Paul (2 Tim 4:16). 

“Defense,”- (literally means, “to talk one’s self off from”. “Apologia,” was a technical word used – in the Greek law courts and was used of an attorney who talked his client off from a charge preferred against him. In short it refers to a speech given in defense.)

” SADNESS.” – was my first emotion and thought as I read of Paul in prison and the words,  ” … but all deserted me.”  Here was a man that invested his life into so so many people at great personal cost, health, ridicule, physical and emotional pain. He had given his all. His life to benefit others and yet we read,” no one stood with me all deserted (abandoned) me.”- (“Deserted”- “conveys the sense of deserting someone in a set of circumstances that are against them. The idea is to let one down, to desert, abandon, leave in the lurch, leave one helpless.”)   

Wuest speaking of  the same Greek word used in Hebrews 13:5 – “The meaning of the word is that of forsaking someone in a state of defeat or helplessness in the midst of hostile circumstances.” Ray Stedman writes that this is rather a sad note. When the apostle was brought up for his hearing — we would call it the arraignment of the charges against him — no one stood up for him; all  forsook him. This was a very dangerous time in Rome. The Emperor Nero  was noted for his vindictiveness. If anybody even appeared to be against  him, Nero’s assassins were all throughout the city, ready to take the man’s life. Evidently no Christian was ready to risk his life by  standing up for Paul, so he had to face this preliminary hearing all alone. But notice again Paul’s lack of vindictiveness. “May it not be charged against them,” he says; and he prays for those who forsook him in the hour of danger. (2  Timothy 4) . Like I say “sadness” is the word that described my emotions upon reading the above verse.

* Saddened that he was forsaken.

* Saddened for him – and yet we read the GRACIOUSNESS of Paul towards those who chose to abandon him- he did not want vengeance he was not bitter for His desire for them was that it “… may NOT be counted against them.” WHAT hugeness of heart, what work of the graciousness of God in and through Paul, who “suffered hardship” for the sake of the Gospel. In 2 Timothy 2 Paul who is writing to young TIMOTHY “TO SUFFER Hardship with me.”Paul was not asking Timothy to undertake what he himself was not willing to do! That’s Godly leadership… It reflects Christ’s servant leadership to do God’s will. It informs him that to serve the Lord is not always “rosy” but not to be surprised, naive but to know suffering is part of the call and that may include being “abandoned” when you could do with a friend in the hard times!


 Paul reveals that even through the pain, of being abandoned you need…

1. – BE PRO-ACTIVE – DON’T ALLOW – the actions of others to cause you to choose bitterness…and withdraw love from those who hold back love from you. 

2.-  BE GRACIOUS – But to desire their actions are not held against them.

3.- DON’T QUIT – but invest in the ” Timothy’s” to encourage them to be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus (2 Tim 2:1)

I once heard it said, ” those whom you often minister most to are very often the ones who show the least gratitude.” Like Paul that man who said that, knew the pain of being hurt and lack of loyalty, but like Paul he continued to give himself sacrificially and with love investing his like into others, a future generation – for like Paul, he too deemed Jesus Christ worthy of the investment of his life in others, that they like a relay runner may take the “baton” of the Gospel and seek to invest in others, who in turn seek to invest in others. For generations God has been doing this and Paul does not want Timothy to be a break in the chain link of his generation.

 * Service does not keep the Lord’s servants from suffering or being abandoned by those whom you have invested in.

* Suffering for Paul was embraced for Jesus sake Your sadness in service must not hinder you or cause you to withdraw but continue to seek to invest your life in others for Jesus sake.

 4. BE ASSURED-  “The LORD stood with me and strengthened me, SO THAT THROUGH ME the PROCLAMATION might be fully Accomplished…” – 2 Tim 4:17

Paul in the hard place, abandoned, forsaken humanly in his hour of need testifies, like the three Hebrew youths in the fire there was the presence of Someone who would never leave him. In the hard place Paul testified “… But the LORD stood with me.” What comfort, assurance, strengthening in the moment of testing. The LORD is here, He is with me- I am not alone! 

He “Strengthened” Paul. The word  speaks of inherent power means “to put power in,” and in doing so makes strong, The idea is “to cause one to be able to function or do something…it can mean physical strengthening {Heb 11:34} but more often refers to spiritual or moral strengthening.” Paul uses it in 2 Timothy 2:1 where the verb of this “strengthening or empowerment” is associated with the Grace and the atmosphere of that Grace is found “IN Christ Jesus.”   Like a car needs gas to move it, so God’s grace strengthens you, as it did Paul to be strong in the face of confrontation and TESTIFY to the Gospel Of Jesus Christ, in the midst of hostility and being abandoned, deserted. God strengthened Paul inwardly to Proclaim, herald, cry out The Gospel.


 Paul’s Prison had become his Pulpit!

Be Assured you do not stand alone He is with you. His grace to strengthen you to do His Will- Strengthened by the Power of God- how awesome is that! Also note those who seek to invest their lives in others are as Paul said in Philippians 2:29-30 we are to “HOLD men like him in high regard;{honor such men}…” – Phil 2:29-30. Someone has invested in your life. You do likewise…You too may know sadness in your service but choose to…serve on- for Jesus sake !