Wednesday, July 11, 2018

The Letter Of The Apostle Paul To The Romans. Day 52, Paul's Intention To Visit Rome

Paul wrote his letter to the Christians at Rome before he ever went there. We don't know who took the gospel to Rome but there was a thriving Christian community in that area. Today Paul speaks of his intention to see the Roman believers in person. He will see them, but as we learned from the book of Acts, it will be as a prisoner.

He concluded yesterday by saying he had occupied himself with preaching the gospel where it had never before been preached, which is why he now says, "This is why I have often been hindered from coming to you." (Romans 15:22) Paul has not been able to visit these believers yet because he has been busy sharing the gospel in places where no one has ever shared it.

"But now that there is no more place for me to work in these regions, and since I have been longing for many years to visit you, I plan to do so when I go to Spain. I hope to see you while passing through and to have you assist me on my journey there, after I have enjoyed your company for a while." (Romans 15:23-24) He feels his work is about finished in the regions where he has been preaching, so he plans to go to Spain next and to visit those at Rome on his way.

"Now, however, I am on my way to Jerusalem in the service of the Lord's people there. For Macedonia and Achaia were pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the Lord's people in Jerusalem. They were pleased to do it, and indeed they owe it to them. For if the Gentiles have shared in the Jews' spiritual blessings, they owe it to the Jews to share with them their material blessings. So after I have completed this task and have made sure that they have received this contribution, I will go to Spain and visit you on the way. I know that when I come to you, I will come in the full measure of the blessings of Christ." (Romans 15:25-29) In Acts we read about the offering that was collected for the people at Jerusalem. At Jerusalem Paul will be arrested and will eventually be sent to Rome to be held until his case comes up before Emperor Nero.

"I urge you, brothers and sisters, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me. Pray that I may be kept safe from the unbelievers in Judea and that the contribution I take to Jerusalem may be favorably received by the Lord's people there, so that I may come to you with joy, by God's will, and in your company be refreshed. The God of peace be with you all. Amen." (Romans 15:30-33) Paul knows there is danger at Jerusalem. He asks these believers to pray for his safety. And as we learned in the book of Acts, God did keep him safe from the plots against his life at Jerusalem, and God did deliver him safely to Rome where Paul disembarks a ship as a prisoner and the first thing he sees is a group of believers waiting to welcome him. "The brothers and sisters there had heard that we were coming, and they traveled as far as the Forum of Appius and the Three Taverns to meet us. At the sight of these people Paul thanked God and was encouraged." (Acts 28:15)

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