Refresh: Begin with prayer. Ask for the Holy Spirit to open your heart to new understanding and for God’s character to be revealed.
Read: Romans 1:1-7 in the English Standard Version (ESV). Note 1–3 insights or questions.
Reflect: During the days leading up to Pentecost, Paul was not part of that experience with the other disciples. He was not part of the original twelve nor was he around to be selected to replace Judas. It seems as if some of the original twelve, or maybe the early followers, would never quite let Paul forget that. He states:
“Indeed, I consider that I am not in the least inferior to these super-apostles.” (2 Corinthians 11:5, ESV).
In his opening greeting, however, Paul places everything in Christ Jesus and tells all those who are about to hear this letter that it comes from a called one (kletos meaning "he called"). Paul was called by Jesus (1 Corinthians 9:1-2, 15:8; Romans 1:5, and Galatians 2:8). He saw Jesus on the road to Damascus and he had been ordained as an apostle to preach the good news to the Gentiles.
So much is packed into the opening phrases of this letter because Paul knew that Phoebe would have to stand in the public square with a 16-foot scroll and simply read it out loud. He wanted to put to rest any misconceptions people might have about him. Through his assertion and humility, the Gospel—the Good News—is even more important than the greeting. It might at first read like an adult with ADHD (Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) who, while he was beginning to say one thing, was distracted by a bumble bee flying near the window. Yet Paul is very intentional about his distraction. Paul is distracted by the Gospel. This is his style and it can be seen in other letters such as Ephesians. Suddenly a train of thought is broken, but always broken in order to share a deeper appreciation of the Gospel. Romans 1:2 will set us up for next week’s Daily Walk, when we read the thesis statement for the whole book of Romans (verses 16-17). Imbedded in those verses is the power of the Gospel when it is revealed and unraveled.
Could there be something in your life that is worth being distracted about and warrants revisiting over and over again? For Paul, that was clearly the Gospel. What is it for you?
Recalibrate: When was the last time you allowed your conversation to be dramatically shifted in order to share the Gospel?
Respond: Pray for the Spirit to call you to a shift in perspective.
Research: Note who Paul is through these verses: 1 Corinthians 9:1-2, 15:8; Romans 1:5, and Galatians 2:8.
Remember: “This letter is to all of you in Rome whom God loves and has called to be his holy people.” —Romans 1:7 (ICB)
Japhet is senior pastor at Boulder Adventist Church in Boulder, CO, and was co-founder of the One project. Originally from southeast London, Japhet served as a pastor and as youth director in the South England Conference for nine years before moving to the United States in 2006. He was director for the Center for Youth Evangelism (CYE), chaplain for missions, and university chaplain at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, MI. Japhet has bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Andrews University (Newbold College campus). He has taught youth ministry, coordinated a master’s in youth ministry program, and spearheaded numerous conferences and initiatives. He is married to Becky and they have two sons, Joshua (18) and Jonah (14).
It is in the little things and how we do those little things that we show who we are. Jesus changed the world by how He lived and died and then lived again. Change your world by choosing to live love in the little things.
Now if you have chosen to be a Jesus sidekick, you will start your training. It is not going to be easy, but know that Jesus has sent the Holy Spirit to be your superpower strength. All you have to do is choose good, choose kindness, and be at peace knowing Jesus. All the angels in heaven are cheering you on.
Paul emphasizes the power of God in Jesus' resurrection. He wanted the church in Rome to remember that their God was the most powerful. Think about some of the ways you have been reminded that your God is the most powerful. Do you think it's important to remember those things on a regular basis?