Tag Archives: prison

“Let Brotherly Love Continue” #1740

1 Let brotherly love continue. 2 Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels. 3 Remember the prisoners as if chained with them—those who are mistreated—since you yourselves are in the body also. (Hebrews 13:1–3, NKJV)

It is easy not to have careful concern for those we do not know personally, and who are out of constant view. Today’s text exhorts us to be driven by brotherly love to remember both. Brotherly love expresses itself through hospitality (love of strangers). The hospitality enjoined here is far different from inviting friends and brethren over for coffee and cake. While this is a worthy kindness, the hospitality we are not to forget (v. 2) is showing fraternal kindness toward Christians who are strangers to us (“I was a stranger, and you took Me in,” Matt. 25:35; cf. 3 John 5-8). To do this was not without personal danger at a time when being a faithful Christian could imprison you, or worse (Matt. 24:9-13; Heb. 10:32-36). Brethren so mistreated should be remembered through our prayers and our provisions (“I was in prison, and you came to Me,” Matt. 25:36). “Out of sight, out of mind” does not characterize the faith of Christians who love their brethren as themselves (Jas. 2:8). May we commit ourselves to “increase more and more” in brotherly love through practical expressions of service to our fellow Christians (1 Thess. 4:9-10).

Boldness from Bondage #1400

12 But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel, 13 so that it has become evident to the whole palace guard, and to all the rest, that my chains are in Christ; 14 and most of the brethren in the Lord, having become confident by my chains, are much more bold to speak the word without fear. (Philippians 1:12–14, NKJV)

What begins as a trial may become the very moment of great blessings. Divine providence turns trials into opportunities and burdens into boldness. Paul had been imprisoned for more than four years for preaching the gospel (two years in Caesarea and two years in Rome, Acts 24:27; 28:30). Threats from his countrymen, injustice from rulers and shipwreck in the deep were among the obstacles he faced on his journey to Rome. Yet, these things turned out as a great opportunity for the gospel to spread and for fellow-Christians to be emboldened with confidence to courageously speak the word of God. When you are faced with a burden, a trial, or even persecution for your faith, do not lose heart. God is giving you an opportunity to rely on His power instead of your own. His spiritual provisions will sustain you while His gospel strengthens and saves others. So, keep fighting the good fight of faith and see the possibilities rather than the hindrances (1 Timothy 6:12).