for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak. (ESV)
Paul is talking here about the mystery of the Gospel for which he is an ambassador in chains. He is asking for prayer that he would declare that mystery boldly, as he ought to. We talked already about Paul's priorities and how he is willing to lay his life down for the Gospel, which is literally what he was called to do. But, I want to focus on this idea of how declaring this mystery of the Gospel causes him to be in chains.
The Jews had stirred up trouble every where Paul went. Because Paul was a Jew he so desperately wanted to see his fellow countrymen come to faith in Christ. In every city he would share the Gospel to the Jews first, and then the Gentiles. In every city the Jews attacked him and the reason he was in jail was because of the attacks of the Jews.
Why were the Jews so opposed to the mystery of the Gospel? Think of it for a moment. The Jews had waited for centuries for the promised Messiah. They claimed to have wanted to know the fulfillment of all the prophecies of old. So, Paul comes to explain the mystery of the Gospel and he has to run for his life! The mystery of the Gospel made the barrier between Jew and Gentile obsolete. In fact, it destroyed the wall of hostility. And guess what. The Jews didn't want that wall to come down.
What a tragic reality. The mystery of the Gospel is the same today. The Gospel breaks down barriers between groups of people. And yet, people react violently to the idea that they can be one with other groups of people. I have served in a church that was primarily white and was offended that I allowed a black woman to read Scripture in Church. What a tragic rejection of the glorious mystery of the Gospel.
How have you embraced the mystery of the Gospel? In what ways are you resistant? Are you happy with the fact that God has broken down walls between you and other groups of people? Or would you prefer to keep walls of separation? What walls does God need to break down for you?