The responsibility for commenting on the conclusion of Paul’s letter to the Romans is a privilege. One central accomplishment of the letter is the divine connection between the spiritually sick condition of humanity and the cure for such condition. Essentially, we fall way short and Christ is there to catch us. How? Quite simply:
God’s grace-filled connection with mankind is possible only through faith in Jesus Christ.
While much of the book of Romans addresses important spiritual connections, it also is imperative to acknowledge Paul’s addressees – in other words, the human connections.
Romans chapter 16 showcases nearly 30 people living in Rome, honorably identified as Paul’s connections. Much more than some “friends” or “followers” on social media, Paul’s connections were authentic and reflective of deep care – a genuine life together. How could this be possible if, at the time of writing this letter, Paul had not yet visited Rome?
The answer is both simple and inspiring:
Paul indiscriminately connected with Jews and Gentiles, women and men, wherever he was. His travels took him through much of the known world. Paul’s connections in Rome indicate that, wherever he taught, he connected with local residents, travelers, and traveling residents. Consider Phoebe, Paul’s courier to Rome (vv. 1-2):
1 I commend to you our sister Phoebe, who is a deacon in the church in Cenchrea. 2 Welcome her in the Lord as one who is worthy of honor among God’s people. Help her in whatever she needs, for she has been helpful to many, and especially to me.
Paul was connected with Phoebe, and he leveraged her travels to Rome to bring about exponentially broader and deeper connections in Rome – both in human terms and spiritual terms!
How can you be more like Paul in establishing and deepening connections?
Do you have opportunities to be like Phoebe, delivering God’s Word to others?
How will you connect or be leveraged in connection today?