A Love Letter from Prison
Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord….Philippians 3:1
While chained in a Roman prison, the Apostle Paul wrote words of comfort to his beloved church at Philippi. One can read his love letter in the book of Philippians found in the Bible.
Bible scholars estimate that Paul spent somewhere between five 1/2 to six years of his evangelistic life in prison before finally being martyred for his strong faith and dedicated preaching of the Good News of Jesus Christ. However, prison bars did NOT stop the Apostle from spreading the Good News of Faith nor did it stop him from sharing the JOY within his heart for serving the Lord.
It was an eventful time for Paul when he established the first church at Philippi during his second missionary journey. After receiving a vision of a man saying, “Come over into Macedonia, and help us,” (Acts 16:9) Paul perceived God was now opening the door for him to carry the Gospel westward to the Gentiles. So he set travel for Macedonia.
After he arrived, he visited the thriving city of Philippi. There he met Lydia, a business woman who sold fine cloths of purple. Lydia accepted Paul’s message of Christ and both she and her family were baptized. Then, Paul delivered a damsel from a spirit of divination only to be cast into prison along with his fellow evangelist Silas who had accompanied him on his journey.
But, as customary with Paul, he used any situation, opportunity, and circumstance for the furtherance of the Gospel. While in prison both he and Silas sang praises unto God at midnight. God intervened with an earthquake that resulted in the conversion of the Philippian jailer and his whole household…. Thus, the church at Philippi was established.
Paul writes often of the faithfulness that the converted Philippians showed to him throughout the rest of his life with their financial support, gifts, and prayers. But, now in a Roman prison awaiting execution, he wishes to “comfort” his followers. He assures them that every seemingly “bad” thing that had happened to him was divinely orchestrated for the continuance and furtherance of the Gospel…Good or Bad, Paul rejoiced in the Lord…”Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord.” (Phil. 3:1)
The book of Philippians is packed with promises for the Christian, including his famous words, “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13). It takes the Love of God for a man to show more compassion and concern toward those who will be grieving his death than being anxious that his own life is about to be taken! (For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. (Phil. 1:21) And, Paul was truly filled with the Love of God for both God and the people of God.
Today, you may be in need of strength and encouragement; we are indeed living in difficult times. If so, I encourage you to read Paul’s love letter to the Philippians in Philippi and know that each promise he shared with them is also a promise that God is sharing with you; right now this very second…
Remember, God Love You!
Lin T. Rollins, Author