March 24th, 2007
As Paul indicated in today’s reading, his imprisonment resulted in the whole imperial guard and many other people finding out that he had been sent to prison because he was a follower of Jesus. They would have then been asking who Jesus was and what he stood for, and why that was so dangerous that Paul needed to be imprisoned for it. And Paul’s imprisonment also forced other believers to reassess their own situations. Many of them decided that it was time for them to make a stand as well, and so they became bolder in telling other people the good news of Jesus.
Paul’s Letter to the Philippians — Chapter 1
1:1 From Paul and Timothy, servants of Jesus Christ, to all the believers in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the supervisors and servants. 1:2 Grace to you, and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 1:3 I thank my God whenever I think of you, 1:4 and every time I pray for you I do so with joy, 1:5 because of your participation in the Good News from the first day until now. 1:6 I am confident that the one who began a good work in you will continue it until the day of Jesus Christ. 1:7 It is right for me to think this way about you, because you hold me in your heart. All of you share with me in God’s grace, both in my imprisonment and in defending and promoting the Good News. 1:8 God is my witness how much I long for all of you with the compassion of Christ Jesus.
1:9 I pray that your love will increase more and more in knowledge and full understanding, 1:10 to help you make the right choices so that you will be sincere and innocent when the day of Christ comes, 1:11 filled with the fruits of righteousness which come through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.
1:12 I want you to know, friends, that the things which happened to me have actually helped to advance the Good News. 1:13 The whole imperial guard and others have become aware that my imprisonment is for Christ, 1:14 and most of the believers in the Lord have become bolder as a result of my imprisonment, and are daring to speak the word of God fearlessly. 1:15 Some people preach Christ out of jealousy and conflict. Others do so out of good will, 1:16 by love, knowing that I live for the defence of the Good News. 1:17 The people who preach Christ out of selfish rivalry are insincere and think that they are increasing my problems during my imprisonment. 1:18 But who cares? In every way, whether under pretext or in truth, Christ is proclaimed. I am delighted about this, and will continue to rejoice. 1:19 I know that I will be released as a result of your prayers and with the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ. 1:20 I seriously expect and hope that I will not be embarrassed, but will be bold enough to ensure that Christ is always glorified by my body, whether I live or die. 1:21 If I live, it will be for Christ, and if I die it will be my gain. 1:22 If I keep living in the body, I will continue to do productive work, but I do not know which I would prefer. 1:23 I am torn between the two. I want to leave and be with Christ, which is far better, 1:24 but it is more necessary for your sake that I remain in the body. 1:25 I am sure about this and I know that I will remain and keep helping you to grow and have increasing joy in the faith, 1:26 so that you can boast even more about what Christ Jesus has done for me when I come to you again.
1:27 Your lifestyle should be worthy of the Good News of Christ so that, whether I visit you or am away from you, I will hear that you are standing firm in one spirit, working together in unity for the faith of the Good News. 1:28 Do not be frightened in any way by the people who oppose you. This shows them that they are going to be destroyed, but you will be saved, and this is from God. 1:29 You have been blessed on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him, 1:30 as you face the same battle which you saw me face, and now hear that I am still facing.
Entry Filed under: Courage