January 2 - Romans 1:8-15

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Romans 1:8-15 – Longing for Rome

In each of his letters, Paul offers a prayer of thanksgiving immediately following his greeting (except Galatians … they were in trouble). This prayer of thanksgiving is offered as a sacrifice of praise. Consequently it is offered through Jesus Christ to God. Sacrifices are always offered through a priest. He give thanks that the faith of the Christians in Rome is proclaimed throughout the world. It isn’t just that the world is hearing of their faith, but that it is faith in Jesus Christ. The quality of their faith is in his heart.

Paul appeals to God as his witness in expressing his desire to visit them. This deep yearning in his soul is something that has consumed Paul’s prayer life. In the next five verses we discover why Paul wants to be there.

He wants nothing from them, but wants desperately to give them something to encourage and strengthen them. Because of their great faith, he looks forward to being encouraged by them at the same time he would bring encouragement to them.

The personal notes that come to us from Paul’s letters are wonderful, even if sometimes quite vague. He tells the Romans that circumstances have prevented him over and over from visiting them. He wants to be able to take the gospel to them as well as other Gentiles and then specifies that the Gentiles include Greeks and Barbarians … a word which doesn't necessarily mean anything other than those who do not speak the local language or are part of a familiar culture. A barbarian in this instance is simply the opposite of a Greek, thus including the entirety of the world.