The Cloak

Sunday, November 3, 2013
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2 Timothy 4:13 – When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, and my scrolls, especially the parchments. (NIV)

A few months ago, I read a thought-provoking sermon based on today's Scripture by the famous nineteenth-century preacher, Charles Haddon Spurgeon. The sermon outlined several important lessons that we can learn from this verse. I was amazed how an insignificant item like Paul's cloak inspired such a great message. In particular, what struck me the most was Spurgeon's description of Paul's affluent background compared to the loss that he later suffered in following Christ. Now, nearing the end of his life in a Roman prison, he had no cloak of his own.

Consequently, Paul asked Timothy to return the cloak he had given to a certain disciple named Carpus. Interestingly, Spurgeon pointed out that Timothy was about six hundred miles away from Rome. Therefore, he raised the following questions: Could not any of the Christians in Caesar's household have found a cloak for the apostle? Did anyone ever visit him? Did the church not know where he was? Was he forgotten by his friends?

I suppose that many Christians during that time were afraid to show their faces around the prison for fear that they, too, would be seized by Roman officials. However, Spurgeon also mentioned that ten years earlier, when Paul was led down the Appian Way in chains, a number of believers were there to escort him. So then, what went wrong? Why was Paul left without a cloak? Yet, even if Paul had been abandoned by his church friends, one thing we know for sure — he was never abandoned by God.

Paul's cloak reminds me of those Christians in the world today who are still being persecuted for their faith: some may be feeling isolated and forgotten. How can we reach out to those imprisoned or facing death for the sake of Christ? Paul's cloak may also be a reminder of someone in our church or community who has a specific need. In that case, we must ask ourselves: Have we been too busy with our own lives to notice? Then, how can we as a church, or as individuals, address these problems and offer our support?

Prayer: Dear Lord, forgive us for the times when we have kept our distance or failed to offer assistance to our brothers and sisters in Christ who are in need. Give us a generous spirit to share freely the blessings and gifts that You have provided for us. In Jesus' holy name, we pray. Amen.

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About the author:

Lori Ciccanti <>
Ocean View, Delaware, USA

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Thoughtful in deed!

    Wonderful message Lori.

    Thank you for your words.

    Wow, Lori, your writing is truly becoming awesome. Good job lady!

    Great thoughts. Thanks for sharing something we all need to be reminded of.

    Thank you Lori, we were just talking about serving God, over breakfast, and now reading your words, affirms our desire to reach out to more people for Christ.

    As always, Lori, your message gives a clear and powerful vision of what Christianity is and how we are to use God’s love.
    Blessings to you, and thank you for another descriptive and visual, devotional. You have a wonderful gift.

    Dear Lois,
    Thank you for passing on some truths from Charles Haddon Spurgeon’s CLOAK sermon. Very interesting. You make me want to read others of Spurgeon’s sermons.
    Keep writing.

    Dear Lori!
    Thank you for the cloak that opens new views.
    The journeys of Paul are full of perseverance. Never abandoned by God.
    You point out the need to help out today with the cloak to wear for the journey – even facing death in the ministry. Clearly back to St.Paul’s days.

    Dear Lori,
    In addition to reading your devotional this morning, I listened to it on the Podcast, which was beautifully read. In addition to your thoughtful challenge to look for those who would have needs in our churches and community, I would encourage us to look for needs in our families as well. Thank you for raising awareness to the plight of our brothers and sisters, worldwide. May God continue to bless you.

    HI Lori,
    I particularly enjoyed you devotional because it was good and it referred to one of my favourites Spurgeon.
    Keep writing.

    Hi Lori
    I really appreciate your devotionals. Especially when they make me wonder, How did she know what I needed to hear? But in the case of The Cloak, I wonder whether Spurgeon may have missed what’s going on in that passage. Consider:
    1. Paul’s only remaining companion is Luke, who had travelled with him and who either took notes along the way or had an excellent memory.
    2. Then Paul tells Timothy to bring Mark, “who will be useful”. The early church father Papias says that Mark recorded the things that Peter preached (compare 2 Peter 1:15).
    3. Paul also asks Timothy to bring “the parchments” – which he doesn’t need to name because Timothy knows which parchments he wants. Papias also says that Matthew recorded the sayings of Jesus in Hebrew (which may mean Aramaic).
    4. So you put together Luke and Mark and some important parchments, and I think what you get is Paul convening the publishing conference that peoduced the two-volume work that we know as Luke-Acts.
    So I think that bringing the cloak was incidental to the publishing conference. My guess is that Paul was not asking for the return of a gift, but for something left in storage.
    Looking forward to your next devotional.


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