Ephesians 3:1 (NIV)
1 For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles–
Paul spent a lot of his life in prison, behind bars because of his relationship with Christ. Many would see this as a great problem for Paul. Why did God, who claimed to love Paul, allow him to spend so much time behind bars in dungeons and other such places?
Many would have accused God of not being good to Paul. If God loved Paul, then why would he keep sending him to prison? Great question. The answer is found in this very short verse, “For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles–“
It was in prison that Paul had time to think. It was in prison that Paul had time to write and respond to many questions that were being asked of the Christian faith. What do we do about the Law and all the sacrifices? What do we do about problems with besetting sins in our lives? Is Jesus really God, or just some higher angelic being? How are we to think of tribulations and afflictions? Are we really secure in Christ, or must we hold on with everything we have in order to make our salvation secure?
All these questions and more found their answers through the pen of Paul as he sat and meditated in the many prison cells he frequented through his life. This would have been good enough to answer the why of prison for Paul, but he saw an even greater reason to God sending him to prison so often.
“Greet all the saints in Christ Jesus. The brothers who are with me send greetings. All the saints send you greetings, especially those who belong to Caesar’s household.” (Philippians 4:21-22)
There were many behind prison doors that needed to know of Christ. It would be a Philippian Jailor who would see how Paul and Silas responded to hardships and affliction that would cause him to see his need for Christ and trust in him. It would be while Paul was in prison that some of Caesar’s own household would see Christ in Paul’s life in jail and come to trust him.
Perhaps dear saint God has designed your hardships and afflictions to be the means by which many will see the clear difference in Christ and some ot trust him. Paul seemed to indicate that was a big reason that God placed him in prison. “For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ for the sake of you Gentiles. . .” Sort of helps bring clarity to why God might possibly have sent you into some hardship or troubling circumstances. I wonder who might be watching your life to see if Christ is enough for you when hard times come?
Rejoicing in Affliction for the sake of those who have yet to trust Christ,