February 21 - Romans 15:5-13

Friday, February 21, 2014

Romans 15:5–13 – Christ is the Hope for All

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. 

For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the Jews  on behalf of God’s truth, so that the promises made to the patriarchs might be confirmed and, moreover, that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written:  “Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles; I will sing the praises of your name.”  

Again, it says, “Rejoice, you Gentiles, with his people.”  

And again, “Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles; let all the peoples extol him.”  

And again, Isaiah says, “The Root of Jesse will spring up, one who will arise to rule over the nations; in him the Gentiles will hope.”  

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

When I was a senior in high school, our church's sixth grade Sunday School class desperately needed a teacher and Mom asked if I would consider taking it. Of course I said yes and I had a wonderful time with the kids, but I'll never forget one of her best pieces of advice. She told me that if the kids got too far out of control, to just stop the class and ask them to bow in prayer for a moment with me. The first couple of weeks, we prayed a lot.

Paul often does this when he is presenting an argument. He interjects a short prayer in order to refocus his readers, just as he does in Romans 15:5-7. He has given the Romans quite a bit of information regarding Jews and Gentiles and how to live with each other in peace. Now it is time to place all of that before God and plead for His intervention in their lives so that they might live in unity. Notice the recurring theme throughout these verses … living in harmony, in accord with Christ Jesus, with one voice … Paul believes that the church should be able to exist as a singular unit, encouraging and loving each other even while individuals are different.

In verse 8, he gives the reason for all of this – that Christ became a servant of the Jews (notice Paul does not call him a leader or a king, but a servant) and that the Gentiles might learn of God's mercy. These two groups make up the entirety of the Church. Christ did not come for one or the other, but for both … for all. Everyone is important to the kingdom of God.

Then, true to Pauline tradition, he quotes Old Testament scripture to prove his point. In this section, he moves from the Law to the Prophets and then to the Psalms. He uses the whole of scripture as a witness to the truth that he preaches. Christ came to earth, died and rose again for all of humanity.