“Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm. May the Lord repay him according to his works.” — 2 Timothy 4:14
Paul had done it now! Ephesus was in the throes of a riot. A great commotion had risen about “the Way.” (Acts 19:23) The underlying motivation for this tinderbox of emotions was not theology–it was economic.
Many times we do not see the “true color” of a person until we mess with their pocketbook. Our neighbors and friends will show a measured civility…until we threaten their livelihood. These are the community leaders and volunteers. They do “charitable work.” They seem to be fine, upstanding citizens….until.
God’s favorite way of revealing our idols is to put us in a situation where they could be taken from us. Let the job situation become tenuous. Let the mortgage payment go unmet. Let the budget get a little out of control and watch people go into “attack mode!”
Paul was upsetting the shrine trade in the temple of Diana with all his talk about Jesus. Demetrius and Alexander saw the threat and leaped into action. The riot that ensued was of such fevered pitch that at one point the crowd shouted down Paul for the space of two hours!
Paul’s intended ministry in Ephesus was blocked because of the opposition, so he departed from there to go to Macedonia and eventually to Greece. The true colors of Alexander had prevented a multitude from hearing the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Paul was finished in Ephesus at that point, but he was not finished with Alexander. There was yet definitive action to be taken against such a one as this coppersmith. He had opposed Paul, but his greater crime was done against the gospel.
Many, of today’s Christian stripe, would think that Paul would sheepishly have dismissed Alexander’s actions and put them in the past. Not so, with Paul. He demonstrated a “backboned” Christianity that is rare in our day.
His comments in his letters to Timothy give us an insight in dealing with the true colors of people. In 1 Timothy 1:20, Paul told Timothy, “of whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I delivered to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.” New Testament inferences to turning someone over to Satan are always for the purpose of destruction. Paul was no pansy with those who opposed the gospel!
In 2 Timothy 4:14, at the close of his ministry, Paul was expressing to Timothy a prayer that God would repay Alexander for the evil he had done. This was a call for divine justice. Many so-called Christians today would be horrified at such a thought. The justice of God is a foreign concept to the malignant grace of the false gospel that is being preached by so many today.
True colors. In a town near my home, a gambling cesspool has been erected. The governor of our state, who is charged with keeping the state’s constitution enforced, has attempted to shut it down. You would think that “Christians” would support this action. But no. These so-called Christians are the most vocal in their protests…and why? Thirteen-hundred people will lose their jobs…money! Like Alexander the coppersmith, it’s all about the bottom line.
May God reward them for the evil they are doing to the gospel of Jesus Christ. I turn them over to Satan that they might learn not to blaspheme!