Answered Prayers: Romans 15:30-33
“30) Now I urge you, brethren, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God for me, 31) that I may be rescued from those who are disobedient in Judea, and that my service for Jerusalem may prove acceptable to the saints; 32) so that I may come to you in joy by the will of God and find refreshing rest in your company. 33) Now the God of peace be with you all. Amen.” Romans‬ ‭15:30-33‬
In this text, Paul entreats the Roman Christians to pray for him as he prepared his trip to Jerusalem. The wording of this request indicates to me that he was prepared for persecution and hardship in Jerusalem. Let’s briefly look at how his trip unfolded.
During his farewell address at Ephesus on his way to Jerusalem, he makes an insightful concession; “22) And now, behold, bound by the Spirit, I am on my way to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there, 23) except that the Holy Spirit solemnly testifies to me in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions await me. 24) But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God.” Acts‬ ‭20:22-24
Paul was ‬ resolved to lay his life down for Jesus and the gospel. God through His Spirit often prepares His people for difficult times to come. He wants us to be prepared. There is great comfort in Jesus Christ and the love of the Spirit as we walk through the ups and downs of this life.
The fulfillment of this text and Romans 15:30-33 both unfold in Acts 21-28. Paul’s trip to Jerusalem was anything but smooth. He was attacked in the temple by an angry mob from among the Jewish people. The Roman guard rescued him from the Jews but prepared to scourge him themselves. He was spared from this plight because he was a Roman citizen. Again, a plot to take his life by a mob of Jewish men who vowed to kill him was averted. We can see that God answered his request from Romans 15: 31 that he might be spared from the disobedient in Judea.
What happened next became a fulfillment of Acts 9:15. Paul begins to “testify before the Gentiles, kings and the sons of Israel.” Paul testifies before the Jewish council, Felix, Festus, Agrippa and eventually Caesar himself. As was his calling, he faithfully preached Jesus and the gospel to them.
In the end, he was safely brought to Rome. God even gave him a group of Roman soldiers to protect him all the way to Rome. It appears that a number of them became believers. (See Philippians 1:12-14) God does indeed answer prayer, but often colors in the details in very creative ways.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global