Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord…
I hate wearing name tags. You can't be anonymous when you have a name tag on; people just come up and introduce themselves to you. This puts me in an awkward situation because the polite thing to do is to introduce myself in return but I never quite know what to say. Do I tell them where I grew up or should I tell them about my wife or maybe talk about my career? How do I sum up who I am in 30 seconds?
That is exactly what Paul is doing in these first few verses of his letter. Picture Paul slapping on a big name tag and introducing himself to the Christians in Rome. On his name tag, right under where it says "Paul," he writes three things: 1. servant of Christ Jesus; 2. apostle (which is to say that he is a witness to the resurrection of Jesus); and 3. set apart for the Gospel of God (which is the story of Jesus). All three labels revolve around Jesus. It is as if Paul is saying, “If you want to know me you have to know Jesus. I cannot be known except in relation to Him.”
Then Paul gets so excited that he goes ahead and tells them who Christ is. He says that “according to the flesh” He was a man of the line of David but according to the Spirit He was the “Son of God in power” and was declared to be so by His resurrection.
It is interesting to note that in Rome Caesar was the “Son of God.” Caesar was commonly referred to by this title and was worshipped as a living deity. Yet, Paul is challenging the Roman Christians to put their Christianity over their citizenship as Romans. Paul is saying, “You want to know me? I am a servant of the King. Not a servant of the man that masquerades as the Son of God (Casear), but a servant of the true King who was declared to be the Son of God in power when He defeated death. Caesar does not have the power, Jesus does.”
What would it be like for your identity to be so wrapped up in Christ that people could not know you without getting to know Jesus? What if you were known as a servant of the true King first, and everything else second?
So let me give this a try: Hello, my name is Lance. I'm a servant of Jesus, a pastor called to share the good news about Jesus. Welcome to my blog.
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