GOD IS NOT CHAINED
As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. (Philippians 1:13 NIV)
Paul is in prison and in chains. He is put there because of his faith in Christ. However, something dramatic is happening. The whole of Rome knows about Paul who is in chains for Christ. It doesn’t just stop there. Paul now claims that the whole palace guard of the emperor of Rome knows that he is in chains for Christ.
At the end of this letter to the Philippians, Paul sends this greeting. All God’s people here send you greetings, especially those who belong to Caesar’s household. (Philippians 4:22 NIV) Paul’s influence for Christ in Rome is so pronounced that there is a house church meeting in Caesar’s household. The most surprising thing about his influence is that Paul is in chains in prison. He is not part of Caesar’s household.
Paul might be in chains but God is not. Paul also now claims that Christian brothers and sisters in Rome are now emboldened to share their faith as they draw inspiration from Paul in prison (Philippians 1:14). However, Paul’s presence in Rome also stirs up his enemies. According to Paul, there are others who preach Christ out of envy and rivalry. They think that by preaching Christ, they can stir up trouble for Paul while he is in chains (Philippians 1:17). However, Paul rejoices, whether their preaching is in good faith or not, that Christ is preached (Philippians 1:18). Paul might be in chains but God is not.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer is a German Lutheran pastor and theologian. He speaks up against the Nazis and Hitler. In 1933, two days after Hitler is installed as Chancellor, Bonhoeffer delivers a radio address in which he attacks Hitler and warns Germany against slipping into an idolatrous cult of the Fuhrer (leader). However, his radio address is cut off at mid-sentence. Bonhoeffer is censored. He also voices resistance against Hitler’s persecution of the Jews. Bonhoeffer is put in prison.
Many Christians had prayed that Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the German pastor known for his theological writings and resistance to Hitler would survive the 2nd World War. However, he is executed on April 8, 1945; 2 weeks before the Allies liberate his prison. These were his last words. “This is the end–for me, the beginning of life.”
God is not chained even though we might be.