Reading: As much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also. Romans 1:15

When Paul penned these words, Rome was at the zenith of its power.

It was the great metropolis of the world and the seat of imperial government. It had become the centre of all kinds of schools and religions, a city full of philosophers—educated, opinionated, dogmatic men. It was a place of the arts with cultured music and theatre, a city where popularity was craved and prosperity was common. Consequently, the majority of the population of Rome had little time for the gospel of Christ. Rome was one of the devil’s strongholds. However, none of this dissuaded Paul from venturing into this city with the message of the crucified and risen Christ.

Paul was convinced that Rome needed the gospel and that the gospel alone could transform Rome. Being fully persuaded of its power and of his calling as a preacher of the gospel, Paul travelled to Rome unashamed of his message. He was willing to challenge the foolishness of men and exalt Christ, the wisdom of God. This aspect of Paul’s missionary service demanded courage, boldness, and trust in God. He was willing to go at any cost to preach the person and work of His Saviour. Others might have been overwhelmed at the prospect of going into such a cosmopolitan city as Rome, afraid lest they would be rejected or ridiculed, but Paul was not of that mind. He was ready to go at the call of God and courageously set about the great work of gospel ministry.

Serving Christ demands courage in this sin-sodden society. Just as Christ did not turn back from His work, so we must not turn back from ours. This hour calls for men and women who will boldly say, “Where He may lead me I will go.” There may be hardships and sacrifices, trials and difficulties, burdens and battles, but with Paul let us say, “I am ready.”

“I preach as if Christ was crucified yesterday, rose from the dead today and was coming back tomorrow.” Martin Luther

Taken from A Word in Season edited by Alan Cairns, 2010. Used by permission.