Captured by Christ
“3 For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles—” Ephesians 3:1 NIV
This one verse strikes me. We are confident that when Paul wrote Ephesians, he was in a Roman prison, but Paul saw it differently. In chapter 3:1, Paul tells us who his captor was… and it wasn’t Rome! He gives us a different perspective.
- • Paul was not a prisoner of Nero.
- • He was not a prisoner to despair.
- • He was not a prisoner to debt and a lack of finances.
- • He was not a prisoner of loneliness.
- • Paul was not a prisoner of fear.
- • He was not a prisoner of discouragement.
- • He was not a prisoner of unmet expectations.
- • Paul was not a prisoner of the enemy.
- • Paul was not a prisoner of Roman Empire.
Although I’m sure Paul felt the sting of the challenges above – that is not what held him captive. Paul identified himself as a prisoner of Christ Jesus. No matter where he found himself, Paul’s heart was captured by the cross of Jesus Christ and the result was the following.
- 1. People still got saved.
Because Paul was not a prisoner of Rome or of the enemy, his ministry didn’t end. While in prison, Paul was a captive of Christ and as a result, the guards to whom Paul was chained to began to get saved. We see it in Philippians 4:22, “The saints in Caesar’s palace, your new brothers in Christ, greet you.”
- 2. Time was still redeemed.
Paul taught the great importance of finding our identity in Christ, above anything else in chapter 1. Ephesians 3:1 shows how Paul the Apostle lived out of that identity.
Not only did people still get saved while Paul was in prison, but since the aggressive apostle could no longer preach from a pulpit, it unleashed his passion with a pen. Because of his incarceration, Paul was forced to write. Because Paul wrote, his message would no longer be confined to a small group of believers in Ephesus or Rome. It would be read, studied, bring the Gospel and encouragement to those who need Jesus for centuries to come!
I wonder how different my life would look if I kept the attitude of the Apostle Paul. I wonder how my life would look if I saw myself as a captive of Jesus Christ.
I wonder if the devil looked at Paul the Apostle sitting alone in a cold, dark, lonely prison and thought, “I finally did it! I’ve got him. I’ve silenced the great Apostle!”
Holy Spirit capture my heart. Forgive me of the many times that my heart escapes You. I want to be Your prisoner. I want to be Your captive. I don’t want to be imprisoned by fear, guilt, loneliness, despair, unmet expectations, or the enemy. I want to be fully captured by You, in the name of my warden Jesus Christ, amen.