Monday 18 April 2022

Bible Book:

To all God’s beloved in Rome, who are called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (v. 7)

Romans 1:1-7 Monday 18 April 2022

Psalm 16


Today's reading comes from a letter to the Christians in Rome. Paul is writing it while he was at the end of his third missionary journey to Corinth and he begins by introducing himself, describing himself as a servant of Christ Jesus, set apart and called as an apostle to share the gospel of God. An apostle was someone who had seen the risen Christ and received a commission from him. The word comes from the Greek apostolos,  meaning a 'person who was sent'. Apostles were sent on missionary journeys and, with Christ, formed the foundation of the Church. Paul’s apostleship was distinctive as he was directly appointed to serve the Gentiles (non-Jews). His apostleship was disputed by some in the Early Church, and at times he went to great lengths to prove its validity.

As a learned Jew, he linked the gospel of God as the promise of God, regarding his son Jesus Christ as described in the Holy Scriptures. Throughout the Bible, genealogy of ancestors is recorded, as is the custom of Jews to record their lineage. Paul states Jesus' lineage as descended from King David. He records Jesus as the son of God by his resurrection from the dead. Paul is setting out his credentials, saying that as a Jew and an apostle, it is by and through Christ that he is called to bring the message of the gospel (news of who Jesus Christ is, what he has done for all people of the nations). He has been sent to share the news to the Gentiles. The news was a call to respond to Christ's message: that he died not only for Jews but non-Jews also – he died for all people. The message was to be spoken, written, to be heard, received and by God's grace responded to by faith. Paul is emphasising to the Christians in Rome that they are among those who are called to belong to Jesus Christ, that he died for them and rose from the dead. Paul is affirming their right to be followers of Christ by their faith in Christ, assuring them of God's love and calling them to be saints (followers of Christ). In his letter Paul goes on to give a number of practical suggestions for both Jews and Gentiles on how to live as followers of Christ.

It is easy for people to read between the lines of a letter, or these days between the lines of a What’sApp message or a Facebook post. It's easy to misunderstand and to take what’s written the wrong way. Paul in his writings to the Romans, writes a very highly organised book and explains the basic gospel message. He has a foundational message that all humans are sinners. Due to sin, all are judged by God, however Paul demonstrates how God dealt with humanity’s sin, by sending his son Jesus to die for all sinners. He reveals how Jesus paid the price for sin by dying on the cross. As an apostle he encourages his readers to accept the message of Christ's death and resurrection as a gift from God, and to  follow Jesus. His is a message of receiving God's love, walking in God's love, and extending God's love to others.


To Ponder:

  •  Have you been misunderstood as Paul was? If you have, how did it make you feel?
  •  How and when have you felt affirmed and loved, and by whom?
  •  In what ways do you identify with Paul’s words “including yourselves, who are called to belong to Jesus Christ”? (v. 6)


Today may we hear God's message, walk in God's love and extend it to others. Amen.


The Garden Tomb, Jerusalem. Image: Angleena Keizer


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