I wonder how you think of Jesus. Good bloke? Miracle worker? Saviour? Lord? Master? Someone you love and respect? God? Friend? All of the above?
For Paul, who wrote the letter to the Philippians that we are digging into at the moment, Jesus was everything. There was only one reason for living – for Jesus. He was faced with the real possibility of being executed. He contemplates the alternatives – life or death – what would be preferable? He’s hard put to work it out, but he’s in no doubt about what he would do with the rest of his life if he wasn’t executed. It would totally be for Jesus. To live is Christ. By that he meant that he would continue to focus all his energy into living for Jesus and proclaiming him. It doesn’t seem to matter to him where he is; he wants to bring glory to Jesus by proclaiming him and building up his people. In prison, facing envious preachers, on death row – it’s all the same – another situation in which to point to Christ. For Paul, it’s an all-consuming passion. It shows in his life and his language. The word-cloud above tells us graphically where his focus is (it’s from our passage for today).
It’s appropriate for Paul to think and live like this, as it is for every one of us who have been rescued by Jesus, our Saviour and Master. Without him we would still be in darkness, slaves to sin and self and satan. And without him, others are lost – lost forever.
May the Lord empower us to live passionately and courageously for Him so that those who still don’t know him hear the good news and respond to Jesus.