This past Sunday I was able to teach from Acts 24. The Apostle Paul is in Caesarea on trial before Felix and the Sanhedrin. Here is the audio of the sermon: Accused but Acquitted
I don’t know why but I get excited waiting for a package that I already know is coming. I check the tracking number, I double check on it’s arrival date and you know what? When it comes I get still get excited and somewhat surprised though I know it was coming.
What do you get excited about that is coming your way? Maybe it is the holidays and spending some time with family that you have not seen in a while. Maybe it is finishing a project or anticipating that tax return. You know they may be around the corner and you can’t wait! There is something even greater that one can anticipate. That is what Jesus is doing in you and through.
The Apostle Paul was in prison and he knew a trial before Caesar would take place. He knew death could be on the horizon for him. Yet, we see Paul writing to the church in Philippi that he was anticipating something else.
He writes, “it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death” (Philippians 1:20).
Straining the Neck Forward
What was Paul eagerly expecting? That phrase means to strain one’s neck forward in anticipation. Like a child excitedly waiting for something to come Paul was eager too. Paul knew one of two things would happen, death or life. He was eager in how he would finish regardless.
It was like a student prepared for a test, saying, “Bring it on.” Paul did not want to be ashamed of Christ. He even wrote in another place, “I am not ashamed of the gospel for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16). He was hopeful of finishing well whether it was his time in prison or his time on earth.
Do You Eagerly Expect to Not Be Ashamed?
I wonder why as Paul was already so bold that he needed to include this verse. He already proved that he was not ashamed. But I also know he was human. And, humans are prone to fail in times of sorrow, hurt, and strife. He may have seen his weakness and didn’t want to cave under the pressure. He may have felt lonely at times and he could have not been strong and maybe even ashamed of the gospel.
I don’t know why he did, but I am thankful that he included this in the letter. I am weak. I am prone to fail too and in some ways I do. There are moments that I am bold and other times maybe even ashamed. I am not even in prison for my faith and yet I am fail over and over. It should be the believers prayer like Paul that we can eagerly expect whatever happens down the road that we can go forward with full courage not being ashamed of the gospel. I am weak but he is strong and it is by his grace that I continue on with eager expectation (2 Cor. 12:9-10).