23 But now that there is no more place for me to work in these regions, and since I have been longing for many years to visit you, 24 I plan to do so when I go to Spain. I hope to see you while passing through and to have you assist me on my journey there, after I have enjoyed your company for a while. 25 Now, however, I am on my way to Jerusalem in the service of the Lord’s people there. 26 For Macedonia and Achaia were pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the Lord’s people in Jerusalem. 27 They were pleased to do it, and indeed they owe it to them. For if the Gentiles have shared in the Jews’ spiritual blessings, they owe it to the Jews to share with them their material blessings. 28 So after I have completed this task and have made sure that they have received this contribution, I will go to Spain and visit you on the way. 29 I know that when I come to you, I will come in the full measure of the blessing of Christ. 30 I urge you, brothers and sisters, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me. 31 Pray that I may be kept safe from the unbelievers in Judea and that the contribution I take to Jerusalem may be favourably received by the Lord’s people there, 32 so that I may come to you with joy, by God’s will, and in your company be refreshed. 33 The God of peace be with you all. Amen.
I have travelled to India and Nepal a number of times and am always impressed and touched by the connection that exists between Christians, even when we have never met and are from very different cultures. Here we see Paul writing to Christians in Rome, whom he has never met, but writing with a warmth and trust for them. He is looking forward to their company, expecting them to support him financially and spiritually on his proposed journey to Spain and asking them to pray for him for his journey to deliver aid to the church in Jerusalem.
It is a bit sad reading Paul’s hopeful plans and knowing that, despite the prayer of the Roman Christians, he was arrested and imprisoned while in Jerusalem and ended up coming to Rome in chains instead of freely. However, we also know that “God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). Paul shared the gospel with many of the soldiers he was chained to (a captive audience!) and the gospel spread among Caesar’s household, so God definitely brought good out of that situation.
Where does that leave me? I rejoice at the worldwide family I am in! As family care for each other through good times and bad I have a fresh desire to connect with, pray for and support Christians in other places.
Dear Lord Jesus, thank you that your death and resurrection means that I have a new, worldwide family. Please help me to love them as you do. Amen
Written by Megan Cornell