What is your passion? Paul had one passion—to testify to the gospel of God’s grace. He was unstoppable because this passion drove him on. He very early expressed his desire to go to Rome (Acts 19:21).
After some time he finds himself in Roman barracks as a prisoner in Jerusalem. He might have thought his dream ended. But then the Lord stood near him the following night and told him, “Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome” (Acts 23:11). Yes,God fulfils the desires of those who delight in him (Psalm 37:4).
Well, the message to “Take courage!” was much needed. For Paul had already suffered much. He knew he will suffer much for the name of Jesus (Acts 9:16). But Rome was the height of political power of the world as much as Jerusalem was the religious capital of the Jews. He could be facing greater threats there. We know from the rest of the Book of Acts that even his journey to Rome had delays (Acts 24:27) and great dangers involved.
But what made Paul so focussed in his mission? One fact is definitely the assurance of Jesus himself that Paul should also testify in Rome. And Paul did not value his life much or wanted to hold on to it. His only ambition was to finish the race and complete the task that Jesus had given him—the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace (Acts 20:24).
Again, he knew that he was under obligation to all to preach the gospel to them; and that is why he was so eager to preach the gospel at Rome (Romans 1:15). But above all, Paul said, “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it it the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16).
My friend, what is your passion? Is it to testify to the gospel of God’s grace? If yes, God will enable to complete your race. He will fulfil your desire even if today you find yourself in prison-like circumstances. The journey ahead might be difficult. But the Lord himself will enable you to proclaim his name before mighty Caesars (see Psalm 119:46).
Even when Paul was in Roman prison he counted himself a prisoner of the Lord Jesus (Ephesians 3:1), rejoiced in the fact that his imprisonment led many others to boldly proclaim the gospel (Philippians 1:12–14) and wrote the prison epistles which are part of our New Testament. My friend, what is your Rome you wish to reach for Christ?