Redemption in Unredemptive Places
“Give my greetings to each of God’s holy people—all who belong to Christ Jesus. The brothers who are with me send you their greetings. And all the rest of God’s people send you greetings, too, especially those in Caesar’s household. May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.” Philippians 4:21-23 (NLT)
It is so easy when reading scripture just to miss the weight of what is being said. Today’s devo is one of those days.
Paul is in prison in Rome. As he writes the closing of this letter he addresses the greetings of those with him to the Philippian church. In this greeting is an interesting comment - “All the rest of God’s people send you greetings, too, especially those in Ceasar’s household."
Why would Paul mention believers in Ceasar’s household? And how did those who served Ceasar become believers anyway? And if they were believers why were they still serving corrupt Ceasar?
It seems that while Paul was in prison instead of mourning his situation, he saw it as an opportunity to share Christ. And to the very guards and officials given charge over him (the enemy - or perceived enemy).
Paul didn’t see his desperate circumstance as something to be rescued from, but an opportunity. An opportunity to allow Jesus to shine through him and rescue others, and in this case, Ceasar’s household. Jewish people weren't very fond of Romans, especially those who worked for Ceasar.
What circumstances and people do you currently find yourself in that you want rescued from? Like Paul, instead of seeking relief, seek redemption, their redemption. Ask Jesus to give you the grace to love and share Christ with them when you would rather ridicule and run. Sometimes the loving thing to do is stay in the current prison (circumstance) we are in with other prisoners and guards so they can be set free, not from a jail cell, but from sin and punishment.
Redemption can only happen if we are willing to suffer for the sake of others. Redemption can only happen if we, like Jesus, take up our cross and die to selfishness so Jesus' life and light can shine.
Lord Jesus, forgive me when I look at my circumstances through the lens of my comfort alone. Help me to see the opportunity to love people, even in terrible times. Give me the courage to face these hard situations with a heart to serve you and others. In Jesus Name. Amen!