Summary: Paul held nothing back when it came to living for and witnessing for Jesus.
A radical preacher Romans 1:13-17
13 Now I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that I often planned to come to you (but was hindered until now), that I might have some fruit among you also, just as among the other Gentiles. 14 I am a debtor both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to wise and to unwise. 15 So, as much as is in me, I am ready to preach the gospel to you who are in Rome also.
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”
So far, in the previous verses we’ve seen beginning in verse 1, the attributes of a bondservant and these servants were hard workers; they were humble and they were obedient to God and His word. And then in verse 7 we saw where we’re not only loved beyond imagination but we’re also called to be saints because God had bestowed His grace on us and this results in peace.
And then in verses 8-12 we saw Paul’s love for the Romans who he had never met and how grateful he was they were not only saved but excited about evangelism, and his prayer to God and the desire of his heart was to visit with them, so they could mutually encourage one another.
And today in verses 13-17 we’ll see,
1 Paul’s desire to visit Rome.
2 His debt to all people regardless of race
3 His drive to reach all people everywhere.
Paul has been in ministry for approximately 15 years by the time the book of Romans was written and some suggest he may have written it while he was on his third missionary journey. He was obviously excited about the things he heard about the Roman church where Jesus was not only being preached in the very seat of imperial power but the gospel had been so effective there that it had gone out throughout the Roman empire.
I Paul’s desire to visit Rome. Verse 13.
He says I often planned to come to you. So, this was something he had wanted to do for a long time. He mentioned it in Acts 19:21 where it says, “Paul decided to go to Jerusalem, passing through Macedonia and Achaia. "After I have been there," he said, "I must visit Rome also." So, he wanted to go to Rome and not because it was some kind of holy place but because it was considered to be the economic and political center of the world.
As a kid growing up in Cape Breton, I had spent my younger years from about four to seven in Toronto and when I got to Cape Breton all the kids wanted to know, what it was like living in such a huge metropolis like Toronto. Back then if people went to Toronto for a holiday, you would read about it in the Cape Breton Post. Toronto was Rome to the people of Cape Breton.
But Paul wasn’t looking for the tourist experience but what excited him was that he had heard of the spiritual impact this church was having and he wanted to share in both the giving and the receiving of God’s blessing.
So, Paul was really looking forward to going there and he knew God wanted him to go, but God had other plans and these plans would include not only when he went but how he’d get there. And the background for his travels begins in the book of Acts.
We’re told that when he had gone to Jerusalem to observe the day of Pentecost and while he was there he took part in some purification rites and a mob arrested him and actually tried to kill him thinking he had brought gentiles into the temple which he didn’t do but a near riot took place and the Roman guards intervened and rescued him but while he was being carried away he asked the captain if he could speak and then he gave his testimony from the top of the stairs, but when he told them that God was sending him to the gentiles they all went crazy and he had to be carried into the barracks.
As he was being held there he had a trial of sorts before the Jewish leadership and then some of the Jews had planned to kill him but his nephew heard about it and told Paul who had him tell the Captain and the Captain sent him to Caesarea and there he had a second trial before Felix who held him for two years and then he was replaced by Festus who tried to send him to Jerusalem but Paul knowing the Jews intended to kill him appealed to Caesar. Then a third trial of sorts was held before King Agrippa, who was accompanied by his queen who was also his sister Bernice and Festus, as well as the most important and influential people of Roman society.