Day 1: Romans 15:4-13
For whatever was written in the past was written for our instruction, so that we may have hope through endurance and through the encouragement from the Scriptures. Now may the God who gives endurance and encouragement grant you to live in harmony with one another, according to Christ Jesus, so that you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ with one mind and one voice.
Therefore welcome one another, just as Christ also
welcomed you, to the glory of God. For I say that Christ became a servant
of the circumcised on behalf of God’s truth, to confirm the promises
to the fathers, and so that Gentiles may glorify God for his
mercy. As it is written,
Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles,
and I will sing praise to your name.
Again it says,
Rejoice, you Gentiles, with his people!
Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles;
let all the peoples praise him!
And again, Isaiah says,
The root of Jesse will appear,
the one who rises to rule the Gentiles;
the Gentiles will hope in him.
Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
1. Paul has been building an argument for Christian unity among people of different background (Jews and Gentiles) in the midst of a city (Rome) with which they now had radical differences. Paul’s encouragement immediately before these verses is to live in a self-giving way towards one another. He then appeals to the entire canon of Hebrew Scripture as his basis for living in this way. It is instruction that leads us to endurance in hope and encouragement. The upshot of all this is radical hospitality: Welcome one another as Christ welcomed you… as a servant.
2. Jesus is the culmination of the Hebrew Scriptures. He is the object of all the prophesies. He is also the unifying presence for all people, from all nations, tribes, and tongues. Therefore, he is our instruction– his words are the very words of life. His actions are the model of true humanity.
3. We are to live by the words Jesus said and model out lives on the actions that he took. He instructed us to live in harmony with one another, according to Christ Jesus. He showed us how to welcome one another when he became the servant to us all. To follow his words and deeds is to welcome one another- and not just those who welcome in return, but everyone! And most especially those who cannot return the favor. (Luke 14:12-14). When we serve one another, we should do it from the low place, in imitation of him (John 13:12-15). Finally, we welcome and serve with purpose: to the glory of God. The purpose of Christ’s work was ultimately this: that worship would abound to the Father. To truly welcome and serve like Christ, we must welcome and serve for the glory of God.
4. As we endure in hope and encouragement, we look forward to the day Christ takes his throne as the one to rule both Jew and Gentile. Our endurance is anticipatory: we are filled with all joy and peace… and hope by the power of the Holy Spirit because Jesus Christ will complete the promises of God for the people of to the glory of God.