20 For this reason I have asked to see you and talk with you. It is because of the hope of Israel that I am bound with this chain.”
Paul put mission over self. He pursued purpose over comfort. He knew that being a Christ follower meant that he would follow Christ to places of danger, suffering and loss of freedom. In this passage, Paul is imprisoned under trumped up charges and could easily find freedom if he would simply let go of his passionate claims about Jesus the Messiah. Instead, he doubles down and asks to speak to Caesar – THE Caesar! His purpose was not to defend himself; it was to proclaim “the hope of Israel,” which is Jesus the Christ. Again, Paul’s mission was not to increase his own status, store up for himself worldly gains, or gain victory over his enemies. His mission was solely focused on sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ, even if that meant unjust imprisonment. How often do we put our mission over our personal desires? How often do we choose comfort over calling? The reality is that some day all of us will be called to stand trial, though not in front of Caesar or any other principality in this world. Rather, we will be called to give an account to God Himself. But the good news is that we can receive the same assurance of hope that Paul proclaimed – that Jesus is our ultimate advocate and through Him we can and will be found blameless in the eyes of God (Charlie Engelmann).
Thoughts for the day
- When have you chosen to follow Christ to an uncomfortable place? What was the fruit of that decision?
- Do you feel confident standing before God’s judgement? Why or why not?
- What do you put your hope in?
- Who needs to hear this truth?
Pray and praise God for one aspect of his character that is meaningful to you, confess your sin, give thanks for the good things in your life, ask for what you need and think of an area in your life in which you worry, and then ask God to replace that worry with an overwhelming sense of hope.