The biggest news today is the conclusion of the NBA season. After 256 days, the longest season ended with the Los Angeles Lakers as the champion. It was very long because the COVID-19 pandemic halted the games last March, and then it was restarted last July in what they called a “bubble” in Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Amidst the pandemic, the NBA found a way to restart the games safely, and became a model for other sports worldwide. The PBA in the Philippines also started its season today in a “bubble” at Clark. We can see that they did not let the pandemic put them down. They were able to rise up and made a difference.
Paul, in the Bible, was somebody who fought many adversities in his lifetime. Interestingly, Luke ended the book of Acts with these two verses: “For two whole years Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him. He proclaimed the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ-with all boldness and without hindrance!” (Acts 28:30-31)
Luke could have written some more about those two years before Paul was eventually executed because of his Christian faith. But he wrote it that way. One reason that we could see is that Luke did not want to end it with the death of Paul. He wanted the book of Acts to be a continuing saga because the work of the Holy Spirit did not in chapter 28. The Holy Spirit continues to work in and through us, and we continue to add chapters in the book of Acts.
Another thing that we can see is that in the two years that Paul was under house arrest, he made himself productive in proclaiming the kingdom of God. He made himself available for everyone who would come and hear the Gospel.
Perhaps the greatest thing that Paul did was he wrote four letters during this time. These so-called “Prison Epistles” are Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon. He wrote to Christians in three places, and one letter to an individual. After some time, 13 letters of Paul were able to survive and became part of our New Testament.
Imagine this: Somebody who was facing adversity, made his life productive for the Lord, and because of this, his ministry is still felt after 2,000 years because of his writings.
So, Paul is teaching us today — do not let the adversity overcome you, instead overcome it because you have Jesus in your life. Always remember what Jesus said — “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33).
May God bless us all!
Rev. Francis Neil G. Jalando-on
Director, Office of Communications
Central Philippine University