“The brothers and sisters in Rome had heard we were coming, and they came to meet us at the Forum on the Appian Way,” (Acts 28:15).
My three year old thinks our pastor’s two daughters are super-stars. When she sees them, she gasps and points with excitement. “Look mama, Hannah and Grace… “they urrr guuurgeous,” she’ll exclaim!
The Apostle Paul didn’t have super-star status like my pastor’s kids. He trotted down the streets of ancient Rome (called the Forum seen below) with chains twisted around his wrists and the Gospel wrapped around his heart. The Lord had given Paul a gospel-charged assignment. “That night the Lord appeared to Paul and said, “Be encouraged, Paul. Just as you have been a witness to me here in Jerusalem, you must preach the Good News in Rome as well,” (Acts 23:11, NLT).
As I began the journey into a massive archeological area called the Forum it hit me. Even in the midst of such immense adversity, Paul’s boldness for Christ never wavered. He arrived in Rome not as an apostle free to conduct ministry as usual, but as an apostle in chains whose voice would be muffled and activity would be limited.
As I stepped across gray cobblestones sprinkled with pieces of marble constructed centuries ago, Paul’s own words echoed through the hallway of my mind, “My life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the word assigned me by the Lord Jesus,” (Acts 20:24).
Words escaped me. His words of denial of self came alive in a new way. I found myself whispering in soft breaths the words, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus…
After he arrived, Paul became entangled in the Roman judicial system. Roman citizens began forming their own opinions about Paul. Since rumor and gossip stirred the populace, and since there was nothing like objective reporting or newspapers to tell the other side, popular perception carried the day (59-61 A.D.). And if Christians were slandered, the majority of the people believed the gossip. Fellow believers were afraid to be associated with Paul and his ministry. They were ashamed of the Gospel because of Paul’s imprisonment.
In response, Paul wrote, “So never be ashamed to tell others about our Lord. And don’t be ashamed of me, either, even though I’m in prison for him. With the strength God gives you, be ready to suffer with me for the sake of the Good News,” (2 Timothy 1:8-18, NLT).
Personal Note: Like Paul I want to be so God-focused that I say, “Whatever it takes Lord, whatever it costs me, I want to be a woman who says, “yes,” to you.
Thanks for allowing me to share my thoughts with you…
I’ll share more photos tomorrow!
|Statue of Apostle Paul|
|Nero's House (Ruler who had Paul beheaded)|
|Paul would have lived in an "apartment" like this one (shops on botttom and homes on top)|