I am obligated both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish. That is why I am so eager to preach the Gospel also to you who are at Rome. Romans 1:14-15
Rome is an ancient city, supposedly founded in 753 B.C. It probably began earlier than that as villages on the Tiber River grew together into the city on the seven hills.
Whatever its history, there was never a lack of sinners in Rome, as in every city: thieves, murderers, adulterers. Its heathen temples – and whatever religion was practiced – only added to the sins committed. In fact, idolatry was the fountainhead of all evil, as Saint Paul writes to the Romans: “They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator. …Because of this God gave them over to shameful lusts” (Romans 1:25-26). One of the great sinners in Rome was the emperor Nero, who persecuted the Christians and, very likely, also ordered the execution of the apostles Peter and Paul about A.D. 64.
But God also had His saints in Rome. Saint Paul addresses his epistle to “all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints” (Romans 1:7). In chapter 16 the apostle mentions some of them: the deaconess Phoebe; Aquila and Priscilla, who assisted Saint Paul in Corinth during their stay there; Mary, “who worked very hard for you” (verse 6); Epenetus, “the first convert to Christ in the province of Asia” (verse 5); Onesiphorus, who searched hard in Rome to visit Saint Paul and was not ashamed of his chains; many others, including Rufus (or “Red”), who may have been the son of Simon, the bearer of Christ’s cross.
The Gospel, probably first proclaimed in Rome by Christians in advance of the apostles, had the power to change sinners into saints. Also in the capitol of the mighty Roman Empire, the Gospel drew people to Christ who confessed Him as Savior and as the Lord mightier than Caesar.
Also today the Gospel is God’s power for the salvation of all who believe. It is the power that leads them to faith and keeps them in it. It is that power in our hearts and lives, too, keeping us in fellowship with our beloved Savior. It is the power God still releases as we proclaim His Word in this world.
PRAYER: Thank You, O God, for the wonders You have worked in human beings in making them saints who are declared righteous by their faith in Christ. Amen.
(Devotions from "With Jesus Every Day" copyright 1997, CPH. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be printed, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission of Concordia Publishing House. Permission is granted for one-time emailing of this link to a friend. For information on other devotional material, please contact CPH at 800-325-3040 or visit CPH at www.cph.org.)
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