1From Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus.
God chose me to be an apostle, and he appointed me to preach the good news 2that he promised long ago by what his prophets said in the holy Scriptures. 3-4This good news is about his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ! As a human, he was from the family of David. But the Holy Spirit proved that Jesus is the powerful Son of God, because he was raised from death.
5Jesus was kind to me and chose me to be an apostle, so that people of all nations would obey and have faith. 6You are some of those people chosen by Jesus Christ.
7This letter is to all of you in Rome. God loves you and has chosen you to be his very own people.
I pray that God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ will be kind to you and will bless you with peace!
We have no record of who founded the church in Rome. But Jews from Rome were present at Pentecost, and may well have returned with the gospel. By the time Paul wrote this letter to the Romans the Jews had been forced out of Rome by Emperor Claudius, and the church no longer had its founding teachers to lead them. Paul had never been to visit the church in
Rome but he was longing to go to the capital city of the empire. Before he went, he wrote a letter to explain fully his understanding of the gospel.
Normally we would want to let people know our credentials to establish our credibility. However, Paul does not do this. He models himself after Jesus (see Philippians 2) and takes a lower position to allow Jesus to take centre stage. His entire life is about doing the will of the Lord. Paul also wants to make sure the church knows who Jesus is. He focuses on the whole biblical story of Jesus: from prophetic writings about Jesus in the holy scriptures, to Jesus’ lineage, to the power of God who raised him from the dead, proving who he claimed to be.
There are a couple of valuable lessons here. First, our lives are not our own. We belong to Jesus, and it is Jesus’ life in us that we reflect (Colossians 3:17). Second, it is all about Jesus, isn’t it? I am talking about our faith, life, purpose, creation, how we live, what we do, and what we think. Colossians 3:1-4 tells us that as Christians we have been raised with Christ, and our lives are now hidden with Christ in God. Jesus is our foundation; he is our rock on which our faith is built (Matthew 7:24-27).
Written by Rob Longley and Annabel Robinson.
Lord Jesus, I praise you for who you are, for the life I have in you and for your authority over all things. Keep me following in your footsteps. Give me a servant’s heart so I can reflect your love to the people in my life and those I come in contact with. My life is in your hands. It is in your name I pray, Amen.