The Death of a Christian
For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come.” (2 Timothy 4:6)
Often times we forget that the Apostles were human beings. People like you and I, with emotion, hopes, sorrow, pain, and so on. But the faith of these men always blows me away.
Above I have posted what Paul writes to his disciple Timothy as he is contemplating the possibility of being condemned to death. In fact, Paul is very near his death. Paul uses precise imagery. It seems that the idea of a Christian martyr’s blood being a libation (poured out as a sacrifice) or drink offering was the image Paul wanted Timothy to recall.
The technical word ‘drink offering’ could be seen in two ways, 1.) the Roman custom of pouring out a glass of wine to the gods as a sacrifice. There was reason to believe that every meal ended with this symbolic act. Paul was about to be executed, and saw it as a symbolic act to God. Or 2.) The libation of wine which was poured out beside the alter. According to the law (Num. 15:1-10), when a lamb was sacrificed, a drink offering consisting of wine was gradually poured out to signify the final act of the entire ceremony.
Either way, Paul was able to face his death and look back at his whole life as ‘a living sacrifice to God’ (Rom. 12:1, Phil. 2:17). How many of us could say the same thing of our lives? This is a powerful image, an image of what it looks like to see a true Christian die, this is also what it looks like to see a Christian truly live. Just another part of God’s vast redemptive history.