September 20, 2002 • By Ed Wrather
This charge I commit to you, son Timothy, according to prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, having faith and a good conscience, which some having rejected, concerning the faith have suffered shipwreck, of whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I delivered to satan that they may learn not to blaspheme. - 1 Timothy 1:18-20.
In response to the question, “What is jumping the shark?” Jon Hein says on his website (www.jumptheshark.com): “It's a moment. A defining moment when you know that your favorite television program has reached its peak. That instant that you know from now on...it's all downhill. Some call it the climax. We call it Jumping the Shark. From that moment on, the program will simply never be the same. The term Jump the Shark was coined by my college roommate for 4 years, Sean J. Connolly, in Ann Arbor, Michigan back in 1985. The aforementioned expression refers to the telltale sign of the demise of Happy Days, our favorite example, when Fonzie actually ‘jumped the shark.’” Fonzie on Happy Days was water skiing when he jumped over a shark, and it was all downhill for the TV show after that according to Jon Hein.
Hymenaeus and Alexander were obviously shark jumping with their blasphemy and shipwrecked their faith. When the first jump occurred, we do not know, but probably long before the shipwreck. A well-known example of Biblical shark jumping is that of Ananias and Sapphira. At some point they conspired together that they were going to sell some property give it to the church and lie about how much of the proceeds of the sale they were giving. Peter asked Ananias, “Why has satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit…(Acts 5:1-10)?” Ananias and Sapphira were both struck dead by God within a short time period of time. King Herod is another example (Acts 12). He began his shark jumping when he decided to persecute the early church killing James the brother of John with the sword (Acts 12:2). He continued his shark jumping until he had the people praising him as a god and then, “…the angel of the Lord smote him, because he did not give God the glory. And he was eaten by worms and died (Acts 12:23).”
Paul charges Timothy encouraging him not to let his faith become shipwrecked and he mentions some obvious sharks that we ought to avoid and here are some of them: “immodesty, violence, being given to wine, greed, quarrelsome, covetous, double-tongued, slander, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, profane and old wives’ fables, being rude to those who are older, pride, envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions, and the useless wrangling of men of corrupt minds (1 Timothy 2 - 6).”
At the same time Paul gives Timothy encouragement and shares the things that will help him avoid those sharks. Here are some of them: “supplications; prayers; intercessions, and thanksgiving for all men; quiet peaceable lives; godliness and reverence; being saved; dressing modestly; temperance; sober-mindedness; good behavior; hospitable; having a pure conscience; faithfulness; reject profane and old wives’ fables, exercise yourself toward godliness; be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity; treat others with proper respect; pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness; having godliness with contentment; fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life; and guard what has been committed to your trust (1 Timothy 2 - 6).”
In other words, don’t jump any sharks!