In the first chapter of Romans, Paul introduces himself as “a slave of Christ Jesus, chosen by God to be an apostle, and sent out to preach His Good News.” Romans 1:1 NLT.
Most of us are familiar with Paul’s history. Today, he would undoubtedly be labelled a “Jewish Extremist”, as he savagely hounded and imprisoned Christians, even approving death by stoning for these people he viewed as blasphemers against God.
Then one day, as he was on his way to a foreign city to imprison even more of the followers of Christ, Paul had an encounter with Jesus that changed him completely. From that day forward, he spread abroad the Good News of Jesus, which he had before tried so hard to silence.
Now, writing to the Christians in the greatest city of the greatest empire the world had yet seen, Paul describes this Good News. It was promised long ago by God, he said, spoken and recorded in the Scriptures by His prophets. The Good News is all about His Son, born into the royal family line of King David, and proven by His Resurrection, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to be the Son of God. He is now the Lord of all.
Paul says that he has been given both ” the privilege and authority to tell Gentiles everywhere what God has done for them, so that they will believe and obey Him, bringing glory to His Name.” Romans 1:5 NLT
As Jesus walked this earth, although He made some individual exceptions, His mission was particularly to Israel, the chosen people of God. Now, after the resurrection, God had made clear, first through Peter and then through the ministry of Paul, that His Good News was for all men, not only for the Jews. As we begin to look more closely at this Good News, we have a deep gratitude to God for including us in His Plan. We, too, have the opportunity to “believe and obey Him, bringing glory to His Name.”