Longing to Go to Rome
Rom 1:8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, because your faith is being proclaimed throughout the whole world.
Rom 1:9 For God, whom I serve in my spirit in the preaching of the gospel of His Son, is my witness as to how unceasingly I make mention of you,
Rom 1:10 always in my prayers making request, if perhaps now at last by the will of God I may succeed in coming to you.
Rom 1:11 For I long to see you so that I may impart some spiritual gift to you, that you may be established;
Rom 1:12 that is, that I may be encouraged together with you while among you, each of us by the other’s faith, both yours and mine.
Rom 1:13 I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that often I have planned to come to you (and have been prevented so far) so that I may obtain some fruit among you also, even as among the rest of the Gentiles.
Rom 1:14 I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish.
Rom 1:15 So, for my part, I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome.
v8 – Paul here is thanking God through Christ for all the church. Paul is saying that their faith was amazingly strong and consistent. The evidence of this is the fact that it is being celebrated throughout the world. They were in the capital of the Roman Empire, in a city known for it’s incredible wickedness. What a testimony that their faith was known throughout the entire empire. With a city of this impact, the religious or irreligious influence would be felt all over. What a testimony to their faith. I ask the question, as things get worse and Christianity becomes more hated and persecuted, could we remain strong and faithful. Remember, it was here where Christians were tortured and crucified, burned alive and thrown to the lions and other ferocious animals. We must draw closer to God and give our all to Him and trust He will be with us through it all.
v9-10 – Paul loved the church there, and he prayed constantly for them. He prayed that somehow by God’s will this would happen. That he would be granted the great favor of fellowshipping with them. This is how we should pray, asking that His will be done. James 4:13-15 says, “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.’ Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.'”
v11-12 – One of the reasons Paul wanted to visit them was to strengthen. Actually it was for mutual edification. Note the words ‘mutually encouraged by each other’s faith’. He expected to be strengthened and comforted by seeing their strength of faith. We should seek the same with us and our brothers and sisters in Christ. We should encourage and strengthen each other through seeing the great strength and faith we share. We should take this time to pray for each other in work we are called into, and the trials we both face.
v13 – Paul again is reiterating that he has made plans to visit them, but for unknown reasons, it was prevented. However, this did not stop him from writing them and making plain the love he had for them, and how much he prayed for them. He wanted to come and help those struggling and be a positive influence with them as with the rest of the Gentiles. This Christian was a much greater change for the Gentiles than it was for the Jews. He truly wanted to have a positive impact on their lives.
v14-15 – Paul states that he is under obligation to help them. Not because he needs to return a favor to them. It was because God had shown him that this is the work he has appointed to him. Notice the two groups he mentions. The Greeks and the Barbarians. These are both non-Jews, namely the Gentiles. When he says the Greeks, he is referring to those who are Greek by nationality, whether a native of the main land or of the Greek islands or colonies. The Barbarians were not Greek but spoke a rude or harsh language, I essence one who speaks a language unknown to others. And his calling was not just to those who esteem themselves intelligent and wise, but also to those who are not of the learned. His calling, again was to all. And we also should look to reach out to all, and not just those who may make us look good. As far as he was concerned, he was eager to preach the gospel to all who were in Rome, both to those who were already in the church, but also those were not.