I am going to start off right here and now and admit that I am confused. The confusion is my own fault for not reading the “history” behind all the books before diving in. I was under the impression that Paul’s letter to the Romans stemmed from his time in Rome. But looking at several sources that doesn’t seem to be the case. This also calls into doubt my assumption of who Luke was referring to when he said Paul met with the “brothers” when he reached Rome. It appears that there were new believers in Rome BEFORE Paul arrived in the end of Luke’s account in Acts. It also appears that Paul DID leave captivity after his two years in Rome but was returned to captivity later where he was killed for his faith. BOY do I have some questions for Paul when we meet up face to face. Luke too for that matter. I’m going to share the link I found most enlightening regarding Paul’s life and accomplishments.
So, let’s take a big breath and get into the letter Paul wrote to the believers in Rome years before he ended up there. It all seems strange to me that he was still going over this same argument when he was taken prisoner in Jerusalem and again after reaching Rome. I suppose that this was a theme that Paul would argue to his dying day.
I believe the words Paul shared in this letter were more than likely repeated often during his two years in Rome while under house arrest. Salvation for the Gentiles is what divided the Jews he was speaking to in the end of Acts. Romans is the “go to” book on that very subject; ALL are saved by grace.
Paul is famous for his greetings and he doesn’t disappoint us with this one. His aim in each is to establish who he is, establish where his authority comes from, to establish Christ’s authenticity and authority, to cement the connection between his readers and himself in the brotherhood of Christ, and to encourage his readers to continue reading on.
Laying the foundation of who Jesus was, is, and always will be is crucial to all Paul’s writings as well as the entire gospel. If that one point were false then everything else would fold. I love how Paul does it in this greeting.
Paul starts by saying that the prophets and the scriptures gave testimony beforehand about the promise of Jesus Christ. He doesn’t have to go into Jesus’ lineage because Jewish people are VERY adept at keeping that straight. It is part of their heritage and a badge of honor among them. So we know that Jesus was a physical decedent of David, as required in the scriptures. But Paul goes the extra mile by saying that if NOTHING else convinced you that Jesus was indeed the Son of God, His resurrection from the dead surely would.
ALL the prophecies that Jesus fulfilled in His life would have been counted as nothing if He had not completed this final one. Without Jesus’ resurrection, there would be no salvation. The exclamation point on God’s promise.
THAT Jesus is Whose name Paul is writing in. The brotherhood of new believers bought and paid for through the shedding of Jesus blood and born into life through His resurrection. Paul, a fellow brother of this promise wants to share what he received personally from Jesus. What he was taught by the Holy Spirit. What was revealed to him for OUR benefit. Gather round brothers and sisters because this is going to be good!
Father God, forgive me for not looking further before. Thank You for encouraging and inspiring me to now. I pray that I NEVER lead someone astray by my lack of knowledge or laziness in looking deeper. Thank You for having Paul pen this letter for my use too. I’m decades removed from its inception yet the concepts are still as fresh and meaningful for me today as they were for those who first read them. Help me hear Your heart in what we read together. Thank You for Your AWESOME gift of Jesus! I want to walk the “Roman’s Road” with You.