But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen. —2 Timothy 4:17-18
The Lord did not stand by Paul merely for the sake of his own peace, or merely for the church in Rome. The Lord stood by him and strengthened him “that all the nations [panta ta ethne] might hear.” Perhaps the tribunal was full of people from all over the Roman empire when Paul gave his defense. Or perhaps Paul preached that last time in a way that would challenge some younger men and women to take the gospel to all the unreached peoples.
Whatever the case, Paul knew that the reason the Lord was standing by him was to give him strength and zeal and vision for world evangelization—“The Lord stood by me and gave me strength to proclaim the message fully, that all the Gentiles [panta ta ethne] might hear it.”
…His friendship is given to forgive our sins, and heal our wounds, and make us whole people, that’s true—but the reason he stands by us to give us forgiveness and healing and wholeness is that we might multiply our joy in reaching “all the peoples of the earth.”