Monday, July 27, 2009
Tuesday, July 28,2009
Read Romans 15:22-33
The greatness of the apostle Paul can be seen by his burning zeal. He is not content to ‘rest on his laurels,’ but now desires to go to the west, to Spain, with the gospel. Paul could not be true to his philosophy of ministry and visit Rome while parts of his world were left unevangelized. But now that there was no region untouched with the gospel (v. 23), he could look to Spain, and on his way, he could visit the saints in Rome.
There was yet one task remaining which would keep Paul from Rome. Early in his ministry Paul had been exhorted by Peter, James and John to remember the poor (Galatians 2:10). The saints in Macedonia and Achaia, sensing their obligation to minister materially to those who had sent the gospel to them, delighted to make a generous contribution to those in Jerusalem and to send it with Paul (v. 26). As soon as this task was accomplished Paul would set out for Rome and then be sent on to Spain.
In 15:30-32 Paul asks the Romans to pray on his behalf, that his trip to Jerusalem will go safely, that his collection for the poor will please the Jerusalem church, and that he will be able to visit Rome after his Jerusalem trip. We often forget that at its heart Romans is not a doctrinal treatise but a pastoral fundraising letter. Paul wants to visit so that he can use Rome as an operational base for a mission to Spain (15:23-24), just as Damascus, Antioch, and Ephesus have supported his work in the past.
Now to God who is able to strengthen you according to the gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages but is now disclosed, and through the prophetic writings is made known to all people, to bring about the obedience of faith -- to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever! Amen.