Bound and Determined
Read Ephesians 3:1-5
For this reason I, Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles-assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for you, how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly. When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit.
What do you think Paul means when he says that he is a prisoner of Christ?
Man, do I love freedom. I am a proud American who appreciates the sacrifices that others have made on my behalf so that I can enjoy this liberty. If you are a freedom-lover like me, it may be difficult to identify with what Paul is saying in this first verse. He says that he is a prisoner of Christ. That certainly doesn’t sound very appealing to most of us. Why would we ever want to be someone’s prisoner? What does Paul mean by that?
First of all, Paul was a literal prisoner when he penned this letter to the Ephesians. He had been tossed into jail because he was preaching to the Gentiles which angered some of the Jews. The issue of him preaching to Gentiles led to riots in the temple and to his arrest. He was technically a prisoner of the Roman government. And yet, he doesn’t identify himself as a prisoner of Caesar. He knew that he was ultimately bound to do what Jesus had called him to do. So he referred to himself as a prisoner of Christ.
When Paul was on the road to Damascus, Jesus revealed Paul’s calling to preach to the Gentiles. In Acts 9:15, Jesus said to Ananias about Paul, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel. For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.”
Paul knew that he was going to suffer for the name of Jesus Christ and yet, he passionately obeyed God and fulfilled His mission. Paul took the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles despite the risks. He knew that the message he shared would anger some important people. But he did not allow that to intimidate him. He didn’t alter the message to appease the masses or to maintain the status quo. He boldly proclaimed the truth that Jesus had revealed to him regarding the salvation of the Gentiles. He was bound and determined to obey the Lord no matter the cost.
Like Paul, we have also been given a mission from Jesus. We were all commissioned to “Go and make disciples.” We are to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ to our neighbors and to the nations. Are you bound and determined to fulfill your mission? Will you obey the Lord no matter what the cost?
Jesus, You are the Lord of my life. I want to obey You and follow You no matter the cost. Give me the strength and courage to fulfill my mission. Amen.
~ Pastor Nat Crawford
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