Saturday, 25 January 2014
For this reason I also have been much hindered from coming to you. Romans 15:22
In Romans 1:9-15, Paul explained his desire to come to Rome and fellowship with them. And in verse 1:13, he said this –
“Now I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that I often planned to come to you (but was hindered until now)…”
Since that verse, he has given his discourse on the many issues which were on his mind. Finally in verse 22, he has stated that, “For this reason I also have been much hindered from coming to you.” It is as if that opening statement all the way at the beginning was the impetus for this masterful epistle. Only after explaining the many issues of the faith has he now returned to explain why he was hindered. In other words, this concern was his “foot in the door” for explaining the many doctrinal matters that he wanted to impart.
In his statement “I have been hindered” he uses a word which is in the imperfect tense. This denotes that it was a continuous problem which implies that he had one hindrance after another as he strived to reach his desired goal of visiting the Romans. Those hindrances are a part of his thought in verse 15:19 when he noted that “from Jerusalem and round about to Illyricum I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.”
In his travels, in his evangelistic endeavors, and in his preaching of the gospel where it had not previously been preached – in these actions he was held back from actually making it to Rome. This then shows Paul’s dedication to the ministry to which he had been called. Despite his great desire to fellowship with the Romans, the call of preaching the gospel had to be of paramount importance. In this, he hoped the Romans would understand the reception of a letter rather than the welcoming of the person into their presence.
Life application: As followers of Christ, there are things we should be doing and there are things we wish to be doing. These will at times conflict with each other. Using Paul’s example in the book of Romans, we will find what is right and pleasing to the Lord. Paul strongly desired to visit those in Rome, but he knew that the preaching of the gospel was of supreme importance and so he placed his desires on the back burner and proceeded to continue walking on the path laid before him, proclaiming the gospel to those who needed to hear it.
Lord Jesus, there are things I should be doing and there are things I desire to do – and they don’t always sync. In such cases, please give me the strength to put my personal desires aside and to follow Your word and Your chosen direction for my life. In this, I know that You will be pleased and I will be found an obedient servant of Yours. Thank You, O Lord. Amen.