Exhibit A

William C. Brownson

READ : 1 Timothy 1:15-17

But for that very reason I received mercy, so that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display the utmost patience, making me an example to those who would come to believe in him for eternal life. (v. 16)

The apostle Paul never forgot what he had been like before Jesus called him: in his own words Paul was “a blasphemer, a persecutor, a man of violence” (see v. 13). How marvelous it seemed to him, “the chief of sinners,” that Jesus had forgiven him all that, summoned him to serve, and trusted him to be faithful! He sees also in that a lesson for Timothy and all who will later believe: “For that very reason I received mercy, so that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display the utmost patience, making me an example to those who would come to believe in him for eternal life.”

Paul saw himself as Exhibit A of the Lord’s marvelous patience. He seems to say, “If Jesus could bear so long with me, a heartless enemy, and make me his dear servant, he can do that for anyone! So never lose heart, Timothy, and never give up on anyone. The longsuffering of the Lord is wonderfully great!”

PRAYER

Thank you, Lord Jesus, for showing your mercy and patience toward the most unworthy—people like us!