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Seeking to equip people to live as Christian disciples wherever God has placed them.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

“When Jesus Sees You”

Romans 15:22-29

Paul now speaks in very personal terms.  He is hoping to visit the Romans.  He is pushing on to Spain.  In other words, in his understanding, he has basically covered all of Europe.  It is important to remember that even at this point in the Roman Empire Greek culture and influence was a dominant force.  Paul has spent a good part of his missionary activity in Greece, including Athens itself.  He wrote his epistles in Greek.  He quoted Greek poets (Acts 17:28).  However he is now ready to go to Spain.

Paul adds however that before he can come to Rome or Spain he needs to go to Jerusalem first.  The church in Jerusalem has suffered materially and Paul has taken up an offering for their relief (II Cor. 9).  Paul then goes on to say once he has brought this offering to the church in Jerusalem he will continue his journey to them and to Spain.  Paul sounds very definite here.

If only he knew . . . .

We know from the Book of Acts that Paul is attacked and then imprisoned when he comes to Jerusalem.  Not thinking he will receive a fair hearing in Jerusalem, Paul appeals to Caesar (Acts  21:27-36; 25:1-10).  The problem is that Caesar is now Nero. Paul will come to Rome as a prisoner.  As far as we know he is never set free.  He is beheaded. He never goes to Spain.  Paul’s plans are not realized.

This can so easily happen to us.   We may be following a given course.  We may believe that this is God’s will.  In reality it may not be.  We need to be open to reversals, sudden changes and unanticipated events.

In this case Paul’s expectations were not accurate.  God had other plans and he reveals them to Paul (Acts 23:11).  We need to be open to unexpected events in our lives.  God may well do a “new thing” we could not anticipate (Isa. 42:9).

Faithful And loving God may I be ready for unexpected changes in my life.  I know that nothing surprises you.  Build up my trust in you.  I pray this in Jesus’ name, Amen.