In the movie, “Braveheart.” Mel Gibson plays the part of William Wallace. I had never heard of him before that movie. I knew all about Robert the Bruce. Bruce was the leader who moved Scotland to rebel against the 13 robert bruceevils of an abusive English Monarch. He is credited with having won Scotland’s freedom at the Battle of Bannockburn around 1300. What many history books leave out is that it was truly William Wallace who inspired Bruce. Wallace led successful rebellions against the evil Longshanks, King of England, but was finally captured and tortured. In the final scene of the movie we see Wallace being flayed alive and even then screaming the word “freedom.” Bruce was one of the local Lords who betrayed Wallace into the hands of his enemies. But the courageous death of Wallace moved Bruce to pick up the staff and finish the task of leading Scotland to Freedom.

Paul’s imprisonment not only brought about the fulfillment of his dream to preach the Gospel in Rome it also inspired others to share their faith also. Paul set the perfect example. In spite of the persecution he was experiencing he courageously continued to proclaim the truth of the Gospel message. I don’t think Paul understood the depth of the suffering he would yet endure at the hands of Caesar when he wrote the letter to the Philippians but he was aware that his example in prison was inspiring many others to share their faith also. Philippians 1:14 says, “And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.”

I don’t think Paul meant there was no fear. The Greek word for “frightened” here is not really “fear” but rather “startled.” Alexander the Great used this word for horses that got spooked; he tested horses to make sure they wouldn’t panic and bolt. Paul is not saying that they had no fear but rather they refused to bolt and run in spite of the danger that confronted them. When we share our faith it’s not unusual for us to be afraid. I know I sometimes struggle with fear when I am moved to share Christ in certain situations. Boldness in Rome took courage. It took courage everywhere at the time. It was open season on Christians and Nero was about to behead Paul the next time he was arrested. To be bold is one thing. To be more bold would be something else and to be much more bold would be something else again. Paul was the Christian Braveheart! There were many that followed. One early Church Historian coined the saying, “The blood of the saints is the seed of the Church.” Rome soon learned that making martyrs out of the saints only inspired others to be “much more bold.” May it make us that way also!