A Glimpse Into Paul’s Heart: Romans 15:17-29
“22) For this reason I have often been prevented from coming to you; 23) but now, with no further place for me in these regions, and since I have had for many years a longing to come to you 24) whenever I go to Spain—for I hope to see you in passing, and to be helped on my way there by you, when I have first enjoyed your company for a while— 25) but now, I am going to Jerusalem serving the saints. 26) For Macedonia and Achaia have been pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the saints in Jerusalem.” ‭‭Romans‬ ‭15:22-26‬
Paul was always looking to the regions beyond. He wanted to boldly go where no man had gone before with the gospel. In the previous several years he had done a fabulous job of ministry and church planting in Macedonia and Achaia. He left behind strong churches and good leadership.
Now he was setting his sites on Rome and beyond that, even Spain. He was ready to carry the gospel to the Spanish speaking world. The gospel was on the move westward through Paul while Thomas was pressing eastward as far as India. Others were moving southward into Africa. The early church was aggressive with the Great Commission.
In this context, Paul mentioned he was ready to make a trip to Jerusalem. He had no idea how providential that trip would be. He was about to be arrested, put on trial and appeal to Caesar. He was about to be sent to Rome as a prisoner. During a ship wreck, he would preach the gospel on the island of Malta. (See Acts 28)
During his first stay in prison in Rome, Paul wrote many of his New Testament Epistles. Gods Word is not bound. He was free to have many visitors and shared the gospel with both soldiers and people from Caesars own household. (See Philippians 1:12-14; 4:22) Many became believers.
Some believe Paul was released from prison for a brief time. During that reprieve he may have traveled up into Italy and even reached as far as Spain. (Hebrews 13:22-25) These words at the end of the book of Hebrews is what prompts many to believe the book of Hebrews was also written by Paul. Note especially the mention of Timothy.
The big take away from Romans 15:17-29 is that Paul always had missions and the spread of the gospel foremost on his mind and heart. His single life ambition was to spread the gospel. Every Christian throughout history who has read the New Testament is part of the fruit of his labor. What an amazing testimony of the ways of God and the power of the gospel.
The modern church must recapture this missionary mindset. Every generation needs to hear the gospel. Our challenge today is great. We may be the last generation prior to the return of Jesus.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global