Standing tall, sharpened by war, stretched by conquest, and tried by the fires of a growing world, the Roman Empire was known for its power. Be honest, it sounds sweet, doesn’t it–the power, if not at the very least, a favorable reputation from such?
And yet, I’m willing to bet there are things from our past that aren’t as sweet. Right? We have blemishes in our stories, cracks in our reputations.
Would you hit “restart?”
Having read Romans 1, in verses 5-6, Paul confirms to the Romans that the gospel message has been sent forth unto all the nations. Now, does Rome qualify?
Didn’t Paul know Rome’s history–the bloodshed, the conquest, the grime and muck? Did God forget? What was God thinking sending Paul to speak to the Romans?
I mean . . .
Matthew 27:27-31 speaks about Jesus’ moments, after Pilate–a Roman governor–washes his hands, and sends Him off to be crucified. Roman soldiers, “the whole battalion before him,” were gathered to shame Him. They stripped, beat, and mocked Him. Crowned with thorns, Roman authorities knelt before Him in boastful pride, and later placed a heavy cross on His shoulders.
These were not all of the Romans, but they were indeed, Roman. Jesus’ crucifixion was branded with Roman nails and Roman trees; and Jesus’ death was trademarked by Roman innovation, the Roman cross became–and still is–“Jesus’ cross”!
Did God forget? Maybe other nations . . . but this one, too–Rome?
Romans 1:8 says, “First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world.”
Rome was seen as one of the fingers that held the barrel of the gun up to Christ’s temple.
But check this out, Paul reminded his brothers and sisters–Romans–that in Christ, their stories had been re-written! Who Rome was didn’t matter to Paul, because it didn’t matter to God! Paul was joyful! The Romans’ story experienced a plot twist–they met Jesus!
Friend, God loves you. Jesus can and is willing to be the plot twist your story needs! Jesus is the “restart,” “clear all”, and “new window” buttons! He can wipe out the hard drive, the cloud storage, and Facebook clean, if need be.
And he did it all, and he’ll do it all, to give you a new reputation, to write for you, a new story.
Keep looking up, friends,
Scripture portions taken from the Holy Bible, English Standard Version, Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.