Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the three-year lectionary.
Our Epistle reading for this week, Romans 1:1-7, seems to be chosen not because we are introducing Paul’s letter to the Romans, but because we are, in this season of Advent, looking forward to the coming of Christ. What does this passage tell us about the coming Christ?
He is promised (v. 2). God has made the coming Lord known through many prophets over many years, using written documents. The fact that this is not something passed along by word of mouth, from ear to ear, is significant. By committing these promises to writing God makes it clear that we can inspect his claims in exactly the same words again and again. Written testimony is considered static and, therefore, more reliable.
Jesus is descended from David. God’s promise to David was that he would raise up a king to sit on his throne eternally. This is no ordinary king, who has a beginning and an end. This is an eternal king of all. Again, his descent can be investigated.
Jesus was shown to be the Son of God. He exercised divine authority and power. Paul notes particularly the resurrection from the dead. This will be a recurring theme in Romans. Jesus’ resurrection is the proof that he has conquered death. It is normally seen as the demonstration that he is able to raise us from the dead as well.
This work, calling the apostles, calling the Romans, and calling you and me, is the heart and soul of Paul’s letter to Romans. Jesus has called all who believe him to be his holy ones. That is how we receive the grace and peace promised.
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