Re-reading of the Scripture with the Risen Lord
Epiphany MTC, NY
13." so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to everyone else that my imprisonment is for Christ;"
As Christians living in the present world, we are faced with the dangers and struggles of earlier centuries being disguised in seemingly benign complacencies and universalism ideologies of a “progressive” society. Christianity of the Western world has been lulled into a deep slumber- forgetting the fervor and passion that supposedly stabilized the foundations of many of its civilizations. In doing so, we have overlooked the perseverance, patience, and love embodied by the apostles of Christ in their faith- one of which is especially seen through the apostle Paul as written in his letter to the Church of Philippi.
In Philippians 1: 12-17, we read of Paul’s charge to the Christians at Philippi to display the love of Christ and enthusiasm of proclaiming the Gospel throughout the regions. Paul wrote that he was “in chains for Christ”, but he didn’t let such physical hindrances bind him, but further writes that it encouraged him to “speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly”. We learn, through Paul’s example, about the assurance of the truth in the Risen Christ Jesus being displayed by the faith and endurance in present sufferings. Paul wouldn’t relent or relinquish his claims, and neither did any of the apostles who were co-workers in the proclamation of the Gospel, most of whom have embraced martyrdom glorifying Christ. Though the Roman and Jewish societies tried to hamper the spread of the Gospel by this small faction, the faith and persistence of the apostles proved victorious as the small faction grew to become one of the largest groups in the world. In the midst of changing times, they held on to their faith, denying the flesh and riches of the world, and fully exemplifying the motto “ to live is Christ and to die is gain.” (v.21)
The challenge presented before us is this- can we exemplify such a faith and persistence as the earlier apostles possessed in this ever-changing society? We tend to forget that the struggles and hardships endured by the early apostles are the same struggles we endure, just presented in a different manner. This should be our comfort that we are not alone in this constant battle and, though the forces of the devil may be strong to try and overtake our faith and foundation in the truth, we will prevail. Just as Jesus conquered death and sin through His Resurrection, we can conquer the complacency and “chains” of this world by “conducting ourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ” (v.27). Let us reflect this past Lenten season and the Resurrected Christ as a source of our strength and fervor and, once again, re-establish our foundation in the truth that He is Risen and continuously present in our lives today.
Heavenly Father, we thank You for your bountiful blessings towards us. We know that we have fallen short continually and lose sight of Your Kingdom in this constantly changing world and societal values. We ask, O Lord, that you equip us with patience, perseverance, and boldness to continually speak Your Word and spread the Gospel to all those around us. Thank you for your Grace and providence. In your precious Name we pray, Amen.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY:
“Are we able to boldly speak the truth of the Gospel both in times of joy and amidst times of struggles?"