March 22, 2018
Romans 16:7… Greet Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen and fellow prisoners. They are well known to the apostles and were in Christ before me.
In this chapter, Paul sends greetings to many people by name. That is a side of Paul that he doesn’t write about much. He appreciated and loved people. We must combine this closing chapter with the many others in this letter to discover the full essence of the gospel. This letter to the Romans is considered by many to contain the most concise and complete explanation of the gospel that is to be found. Paul wrote freely and regularly about the gospel.
But, he was not just writing about a principle; he was writing about lives being changed. And we need to always remember that. The gospel is more than just the greatest message ever; it is the story of many lives. When you rehearse it in your head, have, in mind, people who have been changed by its power. The two people named in verse 7, above, might have been Jews… my fellow kinsmen. And, they might have been prisoners… my fellow prisoners. In any event, Paul honored them with this recognition and statement of purpose in Christ. And that is another thing that is apparent in this chapter… Paul recognized and honored people for their contribution to the kingdom of God. This chapter gives us direction in honoring people.
You many have a big house and a fancy car, but what I see is your love for the unlovely or your concern for the maligned. This requires thinking according to the input of the Spirit rather than the input of my physical eyes and ears. It is admitting the value of the kingdom of God and honoring people for their part in that life. Are we there? I think we might need to change our speech. Here is a limb… When we tell a woman how cute she looks or how pretty her hair looks we trap her in the world of physical comparisons; perhaps we should tell her how much love she showed to someone. I warned you this was a limb. And since we are on one limb, why not step to another one. In this chapter, Paul does not elevate any group of people above another. He commends people about whom we know nothing, he commends prisoners; he commends men and he commends women. His praise is not gender specific.