“22 For this reason I also have been much hindered from coming to you. 23 But now no longer having a place in these parts, and having a great desire these many years to come to you, 24 whenever I journey to Spain, I shall come to you. For I hope to see you on my journey, and to be helped on my way there by you, if first I may enjoy your company for a while. 25 But now I am going to Jerusalem to minister to the saints. 26 For it pleased those from Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor among the saints who are in Jerusalem. 27 It pleased them indeed, and they are their debtors. For if the Gentiles have been partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is also to minister to them in material things.
“28 Therefore, when I have performed this and have sealed to them this fruit, I shall go by way of you to Spain. 29 But I know that when I come to you, I shall come in the fullness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ. 30 Now I beg you, brethren, through the Lord Jesus Christ, and through the love of the Spirit, that you strive together with me in prayers to God for me, 31 that I may be delivered from those in Judea who do not believe, and that my service for Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints, 32 that I may come to you with joy by the will of God, and may be refreshed together with you. 33 Now the God of peace be with you all. Amen.”
God called Abram from Ur of the Chaldeans and told him to leave his homeland and go to a new place, the journey of what would become Israel began. In Genesis 12:1-3, we have this covenant that God made to Abram:
“Now the Lord had said to Abram: ‘Get out of your country, From your family And from your father’s house, To a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
We should understand the political importance of this covenant that God made with Abram. It is important when you vote that you ask certain questions, things like ‘how does a candidate speak about abortion?’ In most cases, if they are wrong on abortion, they are wrong on other things as well. But one of the most important questions one should ask is ‘how do they talk and speak about Israel?’ Do they love the Jewish people and the Jewish state? The enemies of Israel are the enemies of God. Make sure that you are on the right side of this. But often we forget that spiritually we too are indebted to the chosen people of Israel.
Here in our passage in Romans, Paul is preparing the people to whom he is writing for his arrival to them. He is planning to visit Rome, and he does it in a roundabout way. He ends up being ‘arrested’ in Jerusalem, and he is almost killed by a mob of angry Jews. He is arrested by a Roman guard and appeals to Caesar, as was his right as a Roman citizen, and is taken to various governors and then to Rome to plead his case.
One commentator makes the case that the books of Luke and Acts are actually his summary documents prepared by Luke for Paul to present his case to Caesar. But if you look at them, Luke deliberately tells that he is putting things in order and that he carefully deals with things like who was in charge and where they were in charge. He fills in a lot of details, and in Paul’s case, once we get out of Acts 10 with Cornelius, the rest of the book is about Paul and his missionary exploits.
Paul tells us in verse 24 that he hopes to visit Spain and then from there to Rome. He is exporting the Gospel everywhere he goes, and for the most part, in just about every city he spends time in; even for a few weeks, he leaves believers behind. However, in verses 25-26, he is on his way back to Jerusalem to take a gift, a financial one, as far as we can tell, to the church at Jerusalem. He is being sent by the churches in Macedonia and Achaia to take this gift to them.
The saints at Jerusalem are poor, having a hard time. There was much persecution of the church there in Judea; read Acts 6-8 and see that there was so much persecution that they killed James, Jesus’ brother, the pastor there in Jerusalem, and then the saints there ran for their lives, all except the apostles. And so, there was great hardship at the local churches there in Jerusalem. These Gentile Christians took an offering up and sent it to them to help relieve some of the pain.
Paul, in verse 27, reminds them that they are indebted to the Jews for the Gospel and that it was right for them to help in physical things. The Gentiles, you and I, are indebted to the Jews for the Gospel. The Gospel is brought to us by God through the Jews. Jesus is a Jew, He died on a Jewish hill in the chief city of the Jews, Jerusalem, and He will one day reign from Jerusalem. One cannot go far in the Gospel and not run into a Jew. Our Messiah is a Jewish Messiah, our coming King a Jewish King, and our Saviour is a Jewish Savior. We should not forget that.
One cannot claim to love Jesus and hate the Jews at the same time. Jesus IS A JEW. The whole earth is blessed in the Jews because Jesus came to take away the sins of the world. The sad part is that many of the Jews rejected Him, and they missed the very salvation that God brought into the world through them.
I will attach an article about 11 innovations from Israel that changed the world. https://interestingengineering.com/11-israeli-inventions-that-have-changed-the-world-for-thebetter
Even today, that world is benefiting from the nation of Israel in many ways. But there is no greater benefit than that of salvation. Even though the Gospel is primarily carried by Gentiles now, and yes, even back to the Jews by Gentiles, make no mistake, God is not done with Israel. One day soon, Jesus will come to see them face to face, and they will accept Him as their Messiah as well. Read in Zechariah 1:17 and Joel 4:20. Also, read Zechariah 12:10:
“And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn.”
In the meantime, do not forget where your Gospel came from; it came from God through the Jews, it was borne on the shoulders of the Jewish Messiah, and it is Jewish blood that washes away our sins. We are indebted to the Jews. Maybe today we don’t need to send them money as they are a wealthy nation, but there are ways that we can still bless Israel. We should pray for them to have their eyes opened to the Gospel.
There are organizations like Jews for Jesus and others that are Jewish missionaries taking the Gospel to their own people; maybe a financial help or at least pray for them that their fellow Jews would have their eyes opened by the Holy Spirit to see the Messiah. As well, we are told in the Psalms to pray for the peace of Israel (Psalm 122); do we? I admit that I have, but not as consistently as I should. In Psalm 147:2, we are told that the builder of Jerusalem is God; it is precious to Him.
Then Paul asks for prayer for himself and for safety from his enemies, verses 30-32. Paul lived a treacherous life for the Gospel and because of the Gospel. He was often in danger for his life; most often it was from people that he faced the most danger. For some reason, people who don’t believe in Jesus and the Gospel want us to shut up. You know, you can say just about anything to anyone, and they will accept it, but talk about Jesus and Biblical principles, and all of a sudden, we are intolerant, we are bigoted and we are ignorant. We are called unscientific when we worship the God who invented science.
It seems that the very people that you try to help by sharing the Gospel hate you the most. They hated Jesus, they hated the apostles, they hated Paul, and they still hate the Gospel today. Why? It offers freedom beyond this life, but when the Holy Spirit lives in a person, they are more able to see the lies of the world. This means that they are not easily led by the schemes of the system. Sadly, many Christians are not listening to the Holy Spirit in them; but nonetheless, this is what the Gospel offers, true freedom, and freedom is hated by the world system.
It is hated by those that want to control us. God made us free from the very beginning, gave us the ability to choose and the freedom to live with the consequences of our choices. Jesus came to free us from the burden and debt of sin; He came to give us eternal life and to equip us for Holy living. This kind of living is hated by the world system; it is hated even by religious zealots who talk about Jesus to make money or to have power. True Christianity is not popular; it is despised.
Paul asks for the people to pray for him to be protected from these enemies, and I fear that, in our time right now, we will need the same thing. There are enemies of the Gospel, enemies of Jesus that they deny, but somehow fight at any opportunity. We have enemies in the Lord’s churches, planted there by the Devil and causing division and turmoil, thwarting or attempting to thwart the Gospel and the expansion of our outreaches. Paul fought these people both outside, and sadly, inside the local churches, and the fight is only going to get worse as the return of Jesus comes closer and closer. We need to be in prayer more and more, be in Bible study more and more so that we are spiritually strong for the fight.
I end with Paul’s salutation, verse 33, “Now the God of peace be with you all. Amen.”
God bless you,
Dr. Sean Gooding
Pastor of Mississauga Missionary Baptist Church
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