In the End...It's About Jesus
“But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.” - Philippians 1:18
Nearly right out of the gate, Paul brings up the elephant in the room with the Philippians church - his chains. You see, from the outside perspective, it’s not going well. He’s been arrested and as he appeals to greater and greater authorities, he’s bumped around the Roman empire until he’ll eventually set sail on a ship for Rome, an audience with Caesar, and his earthly end.
But not yet.
And not so fast on the sour face.
You see, Paul takes a look at his situation and recognizes that at each stop along the way, he’s had an opportunity to preach, literally preach, the good news of Jesus life, death and resurrection, his message of the Kingdom of God, the love of Jesus Christ and the hope of glory. The longer he’s imprisoned, the more chances with greater and more prestigious audiences he has to share this news.
He claims that the palace guards even know the reason for his imprisonment. And beyond that, the brothers and sisters, the fellow believers in this good news, can look to Paul and his journey and become confident that they can live out this good news, that they can speak out this good news, without being afraid.
Interestingly enough at this moment, in verse 15, Paul makes a pivot. He mentions that there are others who are preaching about Jesus. And he alludes to the fact that some of them are preaching with less-than-pure motives. They’ve heard the buzz on the street, the name of “Jesus” on the wind, and as public interest has been piqued, they’ve decided that this is their next mission - they can make money by talking about Jesus.
That kind of thing is still happening, 2,000 years later. It happens in the church and outside of it. It’s like a certain Social Media platform, recognizing the words, phrases and people that are getting the most attention, and then amplifying them, amplifying the angst and frustration that people have about them, and earning a few extra bucks in the process.
What’s really interesting though, is that Paul says - “so what?!” “So what if Jesus is being talked about so people can make a buck! So what if Jesus is being mentioned in pubs and back alleys and board rooms and golf courses. If Jesus is being mentioned in order to close a deal or secure a lease… Jesus is still being preached!”
Today, it’s easy to point our fingers at this preacher or that leader and claim that they’re speaking or acting from the wrong motives, or preaching something we don’t like or think isn’t correct. Paul doesn’t seem to be bothered though.
“Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.”
It’s like Jesus parable of the Wheat and the Tares (weeds) - let them grow together, because you risk pulling up good wheat when you try to weed out all the bad stuff. Sometimes, you’ve just got to sit back and let things grow, the good and the bad side-by-side… and wait for the end, wait for God to sort them out.
In the end, it’s about Jesus. And if Jesus is who he claims he is, who the church for 2,000 years has claimed he is, then Jesus is also able to set people right about who he is. You and I can rejoice in the meantime, that people are hearing about Jesus, that their attention is being turned to him, and that there’s good news out there and a good person people are meeting, too!
Welcoming YOU to Grow in Jesus too!