Paul told the Roman Christians he was thankful for them. He spoke about a people he had never met. Paul expressed thanks for the future-theirs, and his with them.
Paul was thankful the world knew of the Romans’ faith. People heard Roman emperors expelled the Jews from Rome. Since the Roman Christians worshiped in Jewish temples at first, they experienced similar persecution without expulsion.
Paul desired to be with the Roman believers. He was thankful in advance he could enjoy their companionship. Paul anticipated giving them further knowledge of the gospel. He wanted western believers to be able to stand firm in their faith.
Still, Paul didn’t expect only they would benefit from his visit. He wanted to be encouraged by/with them. Surely Paul’s faith was greater than that of the Roman Christians. Yet, Paul said together they would be encouraged mutually. For this, Paul was thankful.
Paul’s travels created home bases for him in the east. He’d never been to the west. Paul needed a home base in Rome. Often growth in faith comes from standing with other believers supporting each other. Christianity is a faith in community. We meet to pray, study the Bible, worship, encourage, and grow stronger in knowledge and faith to proclaim the Gospel. Paul understood he needed a home base for encouragement and growth in faith.
Paul began his letter to the Romans with thanks for them-past, present, and future. We must begin our day thanking God for who will enter our lives-Christians for growth and encouragement or unbelievers to hear the Gospel.
Lord, help us recognize the importance of being in a community of believers and seeking unbelievers with whom to share Your Gospel