“…I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, so that through my being with you again your joy in Christ Jesus will overflow on account of me.” (Php 1:26)

At first blink here it could almost seem as if Paul was saying that he was so wonderful that they would be full of pride when he returned.  But there’s more to it than this.

The first thing to note is that there are some translation nuances being missed.  The word here translated “joy” (καύχημα) is not the regular word for joy.  It is the word for “pride,” “exultation,” “glory-ing.”  RSV does a better translation more closely to the text:

so that in me you may have ample cause to glory in Christ Jesus, because of my coming to you again.” RSV

It wasn’t that Paul was so extraordinary that they were to rejoice, but they were to rejoice or take “pride in Jesus” because of what had been accomplished:  The gospel had been preached and Paul had been returned to them again.

These seem like small things, until it is you or one you love that is in prison.  Then these things are everything.  And there is great rejoicing and glorifying Jesus for all that he has done.  Just ask anyone who lives in places of persecution.