8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world.
Faith Proclaimed All Over the World
Paul had never been to Rome and the faith there was still thriving. The Jewish Christians were exiled at one point, but after a reversal in Roman thinking they were allowed to return. Could this be how news of Roman faith spread through the world? It has been said that ‘all roads lead to Rome.’ This idiom describes the inevitable common destination of many different courses of action. The idiom is rooted in the reality that Rome was centered politically and culturally on the city by the same name. Ideas in the empire made their way to Rome and Rome disseminated ideas.
Faith in Jesus had journeyed to Rome in Paul’s time and now it was spreading from there. Paul’s strategy reflected the reality that if you can influence cities, you influence the countryside. If you can get the hub, all the various spokes are dealt with. Paul is grateful that, without him, the new faith of Christianity is disseminating from Rome.
Are we thankful for the cities in the world and the believers in those cities who work in the name of Jesus. It’s easy to see how a city like L.A. might get a reputation for purveying smut and violence. However, there are Christians in that city. Some film-makers want to make films which glorify God and not man. People attend churches there that faithfully preach biblical truth and broadcast that truth across the airwaves. Also, there are Christian schools which take in wealthy international students and share Jesus with these students when they attend classes. In cities there are many opportunities to be a powerful beacon of light. In the darkness of depravity (Rome too was depraved) the light shines more brightly.
May we give thanks for and support Christians who serve faithfully in the cities of the world. If we live in a city, show us and equip us to use the opportunities that city-life brings to be a hub of communication. May we broadcast the good news of hope and rejoice as others are saved.
- What does it mean to thank someone through Jesus Christ?
- What is the reason Paul gives for thanking them?
- Who do you think was proclaiming Roman faith throughout the world and why?
- Are you thankful that the faith of other cities is proclaimed? Which urban centers have well-known churches? Does Willow Creek make your list? What about Hillsong?
- Could you personally be a part of a strategy to reach the world by targeting an urban center like Rome first? How?