Paul’s imprisonment had some unintended consequences.
God ordained the gospel to spread in ways no one would have considered. Not only were Paul’s prison guards saved and spreading the gospel, but his confinement motivated others to get to work.
Paul’s trail planted the seeds that grew a backbone in other men. Philippians 1:14, “And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much bolder to speak the word without fear.” Men had to step up with Paul locked up because now, someone had to do it. Great basketball players can sometimes make a team worse. Because of their great ability, average players continually defer to the star instead of being aggressive. Sometimes they stop to watch their MVP do great things. With Paul on the bench, these men could longer stand aside and defer to the great Apostle to spread the Word. Necessity is the great motivator. Few Dad’s work their dream job but labor in whatever job can provide for their family. Toss “personal fulfillment” out the window when you’ve got hungry kids.
The dedication and commitment, that landed Paul in chains, stirred up these other men to follow him with boldness. Perhaps they were shamed at their own walk or inspired by his. Sometimes it just takes one to stand. I’ve been in situations where a whole group of people wanted to do something, but everyone was afraid to speak. The whole group just sat there and stared at each other, waiting for someone else to do what they wanted to do but were afraid to start. Finally, when one stuck their neck out, and they all saw it didn’t get chopped off, others said “Yes, that’s right, I agree!” It took one to stand. When Paul was thrown in jail, the men of other churches saw and said “Paul is right, and I will not fear what Man can do to me!” Don’t let the fear of man stop us from our duty. Paul’s pain planted the seed of blessing for others.
Philippians 1:15, “Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife…” Paul’s trial also stirred another group of Paul’s fellow preachers. They indeed preached Christ and really preached the truth, but they were jealous and envious of Paul. They were jealous of Paul’s position, resentful of Paul’s preaching, and envious of Paul’s authority. They competed against Paul on their way to “the top” which in reality, was a race to the back of the line (Matthew 20:16). This happens all the time. Power struggles in churches or between pastors of other churches of like faith, all trying to be the top dog. With Paul sidelined, now was the perfect opportunity to make a play to be the next big preacher. Out of strife and jealousy, they preached even more to move up in position. Remember, God knows your motives. Praise God the gospel is preached, but what a shame to serve in the truth to make your own name great.