“Nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more needful for you. And being confident of this, I know that I shall remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy of faith, that your rejoicing for me may be more abundant in Jesus Christ by my coming to you again.”—Philippians 1:24–26 (NKJV)
Picking up where we left off yesterday, Paul was discussing life and death matters—his life or death actually. We saw yesterday how the apostle was torn between going home to be with Jesus and staying behind to continue his fruitful work for the gospel. And in today’s passage, we get the sense that Paul knew his work on earth was not yet complete.
He acknowledged that his remaining among the living was more “needful” for the Philippians, and all the other churches he partnered with and ministered to. Bear in mind, this was a man who had endured his fair share of troubles (see 2 Corinthians 11:16–12:10). He was no doubt ready to leave his body, which had taken an absurd amount of abuse over the years of ministry. And yet for the sake of his beloved churches, he made it clear in these verses that he was willing to forego for a little longer his great desire to depart from this world and continue toiling and serving as best as he could.
And so, he stated with confidence that he would remain in the body for a little longer. And this, he was certain, was all for their spiritual growth and the advancement of the gospel throughout the Gentile world.
Now, here’s the most profound aspect of this passage: “that your rejoicing for me may be more abundant in Jesus Christ by my coming to you again.” Here, we see what can only be described as Paul’s favorite word: rejoice. You see, the Philippians had been greatly concerned for Paul. They no doubt poured countless hours into prayer and fasting, even sending Epaphroditus to deliver a generous gift to Paul and to convey their love and concern for him.
So, for him to be with them through the mercy and grace of Christ would be cause for celebration and glorifying God. Paul’s prayer here was that his deliverance would be traced to Christ, and he and the Philippians could rejoice together in the One who delivered him. So, Paul could be content, despite his great desire to be with Jesus, because of the joy it would bring the Philippians and others, and the glory it would bring to Christ’s name.
1. Who has God put in your life so they could be blessed by you?
2. What are some practical ways you could meet the needs of someone today and do it in a way where Jesus gets all the glory?