I’ve talked to prisoners… There isn’t much that is positive about being in prison or being a prisoner (especially ancient prisons). Perhaps the food? (NO!) How about the beds? (NO!) You think the ambiance and décor? (NO!) How about the personnel that administrate the place? (I don’t think many prisoners would say “Yes”) Do you think fellow prisoners would make it attractive? (Hardly!) The prisoners I’ve talked to usually don’t have much they “applaud” about imprisonment!
There’s usually not much to applaud if one’s desire is personal comfort… But Apostle Paul, who was imprisoned in Rome, was different – and his expectations and goals were different! Here’s what he reported to his friends (fellow Christians) in Philippi…
“I want you to know that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel! So that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard [that guarded him in prison] and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ! In fact, most of the brothers, have become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment and are much more bold to speak the word without fear.” (Philippians 1:12–14 ESV)
Paul wasn’t looking for comfort… In fact, he said, “I am put here for the defense of the gospel!” He always looked for opportunities to share the gospel of Jesus Christ – He saw every experience and situation as something God could use to reach others with the life-transforming message of the gospel!
I want to live like that! Lord help me!!! Here’s how he put it elsewhere in His letter… “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain!” Imagine it… “Imprisonment through the eyes of a totally committed and sold out follower of Christ!”