But when Paul had appealed to be kept in custody for the decision of his Imperial Majesty, I ordered him to be held until I could send him to the emperor. Acts 25:21
Paul has been in prison for years at this point. What is the reason he is in prison? If we boil it down to one word: Jesus.
Jesus was the reason Paul (then Saul) used to round up, beat up, and imprison others in his previous life. Now, as a disciple and witness to Christ’s resurrection, he is the one rounded up, beaten up, and in prison. He is continually being asked to give testimony to the powers that be so they can figure out what to do with him. You’d think by Acts 25, after being beaten up and chained up for so long, he would want to be done with it. But it seems like he’s not! His five words “I appeal to the emperor” have just given him more time in the chains.
Have you ever felt stuck? You may not have ever been in prison, and you certainly have not experienced a first-century prison. But have you ever felt not free? Have you ever felt the chains of indifference, shame, guilt, laziness, depression, unemployment, or broken relationships? Do you feel imprisoned today?
God still wants to use you today.
By the end of Acts Paul is beaten, bruised, battered, and in chains. But over and over again his weary estate brought the opportunity to speak of the resurrection of Jesus. Just read the last few chapters of Acts, and you will see how many opportunities Paul had to witness to different people (many notable!) because of his chains.
Christ’s resurrection means freedom. It means final liberation from all that imprisons us, including death. But it also means freedom for the other. So, I challenge you today weary soul, witness to Christ’s resurrection. You might be surprised how much ministry can be done through your pain, weariness, and weakness. Resurrection is the only story that matters for you today. Live into it, speak of it, and watch as others are drawn to it.