Pondering Romans 16:21-27

Book-of-RomansHere is how Paul’s letter to the Romans winds down…

21 Timothy, my co-worker, sends his greetings to you, as do Lucius, Jason and Sosipater, my fellow Jews.

22 I, Tertius, who wrote down this letter, greet you in the Lord.

23 Gaius, whose hospitality I and the whole church here enjoy, sends you his greetings.

Erastus, who is the city’s director of public works, and our brother Quartus send you their greetings. [24] 

25 Now to him who is able to establish you in accordance with my gospel, the message I proclaim about Jesus Christ, in keeping with the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past, 26 but now revealed and made known through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God, so that all the Gentiles might come to the obedience that comes from  faith— 27 to the only wise God be glory forever through Jesus Christ! Amen.

Paul’s letter to the Romans would prove to have very practical value in the years following its writing. A fire raged throughout the city of Rome in AD 64, seven years after Paul wrote this letter. When Emperor Nero rebuilt the city in his honor, many blamed him for setting the fire. Needing  a scapegoat, Nero blamed the Christians and initiated widespread persecution and execution of them. Christians were torn to death by dogs and used as torches to light Nero’s gardens and parties.

Although Nero’s reign ended in 68, the persecution of Christians continued. The great Colosseum was built between 75 and 80 – and while it was built for sportive entertainment showcasing gladiatorial combats, many Christians were also thrown to the beasts there.

It is very likely that Paul’s letter helped many believers resist the temptation to turn away from Christ in the face of persecution and rather to press on toward the goal for which God called them.

Perhaps knowing what lay ahead for the Romans, this book would give them the theological foundation to enable them to stand firm. But it is interesting that as theological as the book is, Paul wraps it up with a doxological flourish.

Now to Him… the only wise God be glory forever through Jesus Christ! Amen.”

***

I will continue my pondering adventure in January. The 2014 pondering project will be the Gospel of John. You are invited to join me as we work our way through this premier gospel and explore the life and teachings of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. See you in a few weeks.

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