About Jesus Steve Sweetman
Chapter 15:23 - 33
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Chapter 15:14 - 22
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Plan To Visit Rome
(ch. 15:23 Ė 33)
had collected money from the Christians in
and Achaia for the Christian Jews in Jerusalem
who were extremely poor, probably due to both Roman and Jewish persecution. In
verses 23 and 24 we note that Paul, after giving these Jewish
Christianís a gift of money, he would work his way west once again.
He was hoping to visit
and preach the gospel there to those who had never heard the gospel.
On his way he would spend some time in Rome
with the Christians there.
He would also hopefully receive some assistance, which I believe
might have included financial support, for his trip beyond Rome
to Spain. Paul's goal was to visit Spain. Some
people say he reached Spain, while other say he didn't.
I don't really know if Paul got to Spain
or not before he was executed.
There is no New Testament evidence that he ever reached Spain. However,
there is some extra-Biblical support for the idea that he did reach Spain
and on his return to the east was arrested, imprisoned, and executed by
heart desire was to visit the believers in
, but he felt compelled to help the poor saints in Jerusalem. This
was quite a commitment.
Paul wrote this letter from Corinth, which was roughly a 1500 mile trip to the west.
The easiest thing for him to do would have been to just head west
to Rome. He
didn't do that.
He headed southeast to Jerusalem. If
you consider the trip to Jerusalem from Corinth by land and sea and then
back west to Spain via Rome, that would have been roughly 3000 miles,
twice the distance from Corinth to Rome.
You can thus see that giving financial assistance to the
saints was a major sacrifice for him.
verse 25 we see the confirmation that Paul at this point in time was on
his way to Jerusalem
with the gift for the poor saints.
Paul had lots on his plate, so to speak.
He wanted to preach the gospel to those who had never heard it, he
wanted to encourage the believers in
and elsewhere, and he wanted to financially help the poor Christians in Jerusalem.
verse 26 we see Paul mentions Macedonia
and Achaia. In
his second letter to the Corinthians Paul speaks of how generous the
Macedonian Christians were when it came to giving.
They were very poor people, but out of their extreme poverty, they
gave lots to the poor saints in Jerusalem. Paul
actually uses them as an example to spur the Corinthians on in their
2 Corinthians 8.
27 is interesting and important.
Paul states that the Gentiles have shared in the Jews spiritual
has already made the point that the Gentiles have come to a Jewish
not for the Jews, there would be no salvation for the Gentiles.
That being the case, the Gentiles should be willing to share with
the poor Christian Jews in
This is important because we see the blessing of salvation that the
Gentiles received from God was actually a Jewish blessing.
It was a blessing first to the Jews.
The Gentiles simply got to receive the blessings originally offered
to the Jews. This
shows the Gentile Christian world that their heritage is found in Jewish
culture, that is, godly Jewish culture.
Things haven't changed in this respect.
I believe that Gentile Christians should support their Jewish
brothers in Jesus in whatever way they can.
goes as far to say that the Gentile believers "owe" this to the
It is the obligation of the Gentile believers to help the Jewish
this, I would also suggest that the Abrahamic Covenant might come into
play in this matter when it states, "He that blesses
will be blessed and he that curses
will be cursed (Genesis 12:3).
verse 28 Paul states his intentions again to visit Spain. Once
he delivers the money to the poor saints in
he would head west to Spain. Once again, there is debate among scholars whether Paul actually got to
we should note at this time is that Paul did
give the money to the saints
and he did end up in
Rome, but not as a free man.
His good and sacrificial gesture to give to the poor saints in Jerusalem
got him arrested.
He ended up in
as a prisoner.
You can read the story in Acts 21:17 and following.
There you will read that after the elders at Jerusalem
thanked Paul for the gift of money, their ill-advised, and I'd even call
it deceptive advice, had Paul arrested.
Many of us would have simply given up.
You do a good thing, and in this case the good thing was one huge
sacrifice, and it all backfires on you.
Instead of going to Rome and preaching the gospel as a free man, he
went to Rome as a prisoner, but, as predicted at his conversion in Acts 9,
he did get to proclaim the gospel to the leaders of the Roman Empire and
most likely to Nero himself.
says in verse 29 that when he would eventually arrive in
he would come in the full measure of the blessing of Christ.
This means that Jesus would have given him much to pass on to these
You can be sure that Paul was not boasting, or merely hoping to be
a blessing. More
than any other man, Jesus would use Paul with all sorts of miracles in the
proclamation of the gospel and the edifying of the saints.
These Roman Christian should have been anticipating Paul's visit to
them with great expectation.
The only thing here is that when Paul made this statement, I don't
believe he had any idea of how he would actually end up in Rome. However,
he might have had hints of how he'd get to Rome
because of all of the prophetic warnings of danger and imprisonment that
were given to him by various believers in various cities.
Paul end up in Rome
with great blessings? I say he
did. If you read Acts 28 you
will note that in house arrest, people came to him on a daily basis.
From morning to evening he preached and taught the good news of the
Lord Jesus Christ to all who came to visit him.
He was used to going to the people to preach but now the people
came to him. House arrest
might well have been a time of rest for Paul as he proclaimed the name of
verse 30 Paul asks for prayer in his struggles.
Preaching the gospel for Paul was not like preaching the gospel for
many preachers today.
He went through many struggles.
These are well accounted for in his second letter to the church at Corinth. Paul
did not have an easy life.
He did not come to Jesus and live happily ever after.
He did not live the good life that Prosperity Preachers preach
life was one huge struggle as He performed the will of God. This
was actually told to him would be the case when he gave his life to Jesus
as seen in Acts 9.
verses 31 to 33 Paul asked the Romans to pray for him that he would be
rescued from the unbelievers in
, and that this gift would be acceptable to the Christians there.
All of Paulís prayers seemed to be answered but not necessarily
as he might have expected.
The Jewish Christians did receive the gift joyfully as seen in
Acts. 21:17 to 20.
Paulís prayer concerning him being kept safe from the unbelievers
did not get answered as he might have hoped.
He was attacked by the Jews that caused a great riot in
Jerusalem. As a
result of the riot the Roman soldiers arrested Paul (Acts 21:27 Ė 36).
Another part of Paulís prayer did get answered.
He did end up in Rome, but as a prisoner, where he was in house arrest for two years (Acts
28:16 - 30). Some
say that Paul was released from this house arrest in
and did make one more missionary trip to Spain
as he hoped.
They believe the letters to Timothy and Titus were written from Spain. Others
say he went back to Macedonia. In
64 AD Paul was put to death by the Roman authorities.
Romans tortured and killed Christians.
Sometimes they would wrap them up in animal skins and feed them to
they would burn them on poles, making human torches of them, giving light
to their gardens in the evening.
Tradition holds with confidence that Paul was executed by the sword
in 64 AD.
Nero, Emperor of Rome at the time, it is said that he may have caused the
that spread through the city on July 18 and 19 of 64 AD.
If true, this is an example of the kind of man he was.
This was the man to whom Paul told the Christians to submit to in
Romans 13:1. It
is said that when he was out of town he had the city set on fire so he
could rebuild it in his own way.
Approximately one third of the city was next to destroyed, while
another third was heavily damaged.
It is said that Paul was soon killed after this fire for his faith.
33 ends this chapter with Paul saying, "The God of peace be with you
is a God of peace, but that being said, not all aspects of a Christian's
life will be peaceful.
The God of peace would lead Paul into a very unpeaceful riot,
arrest, imprisonment, and death.
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Chapter 15:14 - 22