Proper 20: Epistle, Philippians 1:12-14, 19-30
Philippians 1:12-14, 19-30
I marvel, and I imagine you might as well, at the accounts of Paul and the other early Christians in regard to their courage. Beatings, neglect, imprisonment, and more. All for the sake of Jesus and His message. And not only them, but myriads through the centuries since have tasted the wrath of man for delivering the message of the peace of God. What an exchange.
In our epistle reading we have Paul weighing his options namely, persecution and most probably death for the sake of Jesus or living on with the sheep given to his care. He knows that ultimately that choice lies in the hands of his Master, but he does tilt toward the “How wonderful it would be to see Jesus” side. Paul, in the end, is most content with the will of God and sees past the current challenges to his own life and knows that God will leave him here for the time being that fruit may come from their labor together.
Then Paul, in a word meant to reassure his readers and hearers, lays it out plainly, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Phil. 1:21). Can you imagine? One or the other. And the option that might give due fear to our hearts truly lives as the most blessed in the sight of the apostle. Moving forward without wavering. Seeing Him who is unseen. Reveling in the sure promises of a future at home with all the family and its Head. They inspired courage in the apostle, and in millions since. May the Lord grant to us that same courage today, for His dear name’s sake. Amen!