Romans 16: 1-16
I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a servant of the church at Cenchreae,
2 that you may welcome her in the Lord in a way worthy of the saints, and help her in whatever she may need from you, for she has been a patron of many and of myself as well.
3 Greet Prisca and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus,
4 who risked their necks for my life, to whom not only I give thanks but all the churches of the Gentiles give thanks as well.
5 Greet also the church in their house. Greet my beloved Epaenetus, who was the first convert to Christ in Asia.
6 Greet Mary, who has worked hard for you.
7 Greet Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen and my fellow prisoners. They are well known to the apostles, and they were in Christ before me.
8 Greet Ampliatus, my beloved in the Lord.
9 Greet Urbanus, our fellow worker in Christ, and my beloved Stachys.
10 Greet Apelles, who is approved in Christ. Greet those who belong to the family of Aristobulus.
11 Greet my kinsman Herodion. Greet those in the Lord who belong to the family of Narcissus.
12 Greet those workers in the Lord, Tryphaena and Tryphosa. Greet the beloved Persis, who has worked hard in the Lord.
13 Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord; also his mother, who has been a mother to me as well.
14 Greet Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermes, Patrobas, Hermas, and the brothers who are with them.
15 Greet Philologus, Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints who are with them.
16 Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ greet you. – Romans 16:1-16
Paul was once a person who persecuted the church. He was a man of action believing that to serve God meant to rid the world of the believers of the false leader – Jesus of Nazareth. However, God in His mercy reached out to Paul through a personal encounter with the risen Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:3). He became a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ.
However the believers at the time of Paul’s conversion were very skeptical of his”conversion”. They thought he was tricking them so he could catch them. Barnabas, the Son of Encouragement (Acts 4:36), took him to the believers and reassured them that his conversion was true and genuine (Acts 9:7).
Paul was a scholar. He trained in the best school of the Pharisees. He knew how to study and how to argue a point. However, this closing chapter of the book of Romans shows another facet to Paul’s character. The Lord had made him a “people person”. Here he is: commending a sister to the church; greeting close friends who have risked their lives for him; sending greetings to people who had been in prison with him and greeting many by name. There is a fair chance that he had never met most these people he mentions, who lived in Rome, as he had never been there. But, he knew of them. He had heard of their faith. He prayed for them.
So, Paul was a man of action, a theologian and a pastor-teacher who knew the flock by name and was a faithful shepherd. The letter to the Romans is foundational in the formation of Christian thinking and theology. Paul had a heart of love for the Roman church even though he have not visited them. His desire to share the truth with then by writing a letter meant that we could be blessed two thousand years later. He had absolutely no idea how huge the audience of this letter was going to become. Maybe if he had he would have been to scared to attempt to write the letter. But God knew what purpose He had in anointing Paul by the Holy Spirit to write his thoughts down.
It is extremely unlikely that we would be called to have such a high profile ministry as Paul. But, God had a plan for our lives for each of us. God is calling us to do His will. To share the gospel. To disciple people. To shepherd the lost who need to find their way. To do that God wants us to be “people people”. People who have a genuine care for the well-being of others above our own. As Jesus came to serve us, so we are sent to serve others.
43 But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant,
44 and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all.
45 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” – Mark 10:43-45