I want you to know, beloved that what has happened to me has actually helped to spread the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to everyone else that my imprisonment is for Christ; and most of the brothers and sisters, having been made confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, dare to speak the word with greater boldness and without fear.
Is Paul just trying to look at the positive side of being imprisoned? It is true that the spread of the Gospel did increase greatly during the time he was imprisoned and may have gave others courage to continue in its proclamation. Others though may have been discouraged for fear of the same thing happening to them.
In the United States, we really do not know what it means to be a martyr or what that looks like within our current culture. That does not mean that it does not happen around the world in other places where Christianity is not the majority faith. We pray for those in countries where it is dangerous to carry one’s Bible or speak of Jesus Christ. They may also be emboldened by Paul’s words throughout his many letters.
In our country there is a vast apathy for social justice. We like to assure that we are taken care of, narcissism at its best, and push off those causes around the world that do not affect us. Jesus was not afraid to speak up in these circumstances though and neither was Paul. What cause do you choose to support this Advent season?
God, may you guide us on the right path in caring for our neighbors and brothers and sisters around the world. May we banish apathy with love and turn towards you in all we do. AMEN.