Sunday, 26 January 2014
But now no longer having a place in these parts, and having a great desire these many years to come to you,… Romans 15:23
Speaking of his ministry which went in a circle from Jerusalem around to Illyricum, Paul felt that he had covered the entire area in a manner sufficient to say that there was no longer any place that wasn’t evangelized. Considering the amount of area and the immense number of towns and people, he was making quite a claim. But it should be remembered that he certainly instructed those he evangelized to continue on with the effort just as he had. Therefore, along with his work, those he brought to Jesus would have continued the process.
Paul’s letters to Timothy and Titus, though written later, give his instructions on the establishment and conduct of churches. When writing to Titus, he says this –
“For this reason I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city as I commanded you…” Titus 1:5
So it is not at all improbable that the message, either directly by Paul or by those he trained, got to the entire region just as he claims here. And because of this, he now tells the Romans of his yearning to come to them. He had set aside his desires for the sake of spreading the gospel and he now felt that he could follow through with what he so long wished to do without compromising anything in the process.
Life application: Stick to what is necessary first and foremost. Only when that is accomplished should we endeavor to follow our other, less important desires. There is a world full of people who need to hear the good news. Don’t let TV or fun parties dull you to what should be the first priority in life.
O God, in my time of distress, You are there to comfort me. Friends come and go, people promise and fail to deliver, and those who were once near and dear to me no longer count me among their associates. But You O Lord… You are always faithful. In the morning, I can rise and feel You near. In the darkest night, I know You are watching. You are my Rock and my Comfort, and in You I place my trust and hope. Amen.