As Paul winds down the letter to the Romans, in the last two chapters 15 & 16, you begin to see his heart for the people on a deeper level. The teaching in the early chapters is so solid, so robust, so thorough, that you may think Paul is just a massive brain, a man of the mind, a man with tremendous intellectual insight. But as you read chapter 15, you realize he’s just as solid on the emotional front as he is on the intellectual front.
He talks about the importance of the “strong and able in the faith” being willing to step in and help the weaker ones. He talks about singing and rejoicing together. He talks about being satisfied with who they are and what they are doing, like a proud father. He talks about bringing an offering to the poor in Jerusalem and Judea before heading out for Rome. He talks about how long he’s wanted to go to Rome to help those believers and how he even has plans for Spain.
It’s not about him; it’s about the Message. And he reiterates that again and again.
But one of my favorite lines in chapter 15, and the line I’ll leave you with today, is this exhortation / encouragement / almost benediction:
Oh! May the God of green hope fill you up with joy, fill you up with peace, so that your believing lives, filled with the life-giving energy of the Holy Spirit, will brim over with hope!