Many years ago, close friends of ours added three adopted children of different ethnicities to their tribe of three biological children. The differences amplified the normal sibling friction and were sometimes fodder for comparison, unkind words, and, on rare occasions, exclusion. These good parents were quick to remind all of their children that there was no difference in the love they had for any and all of their children. No child was more of a son or daughter than any other. Our friends understood the dual focus of their parenting—they were trying to nurture six healthy individuals as well as building a cohesive family unit.
- Read today’s passage with the thought of God’s desire to both transform children and form a family.
READ THE WORD: ROMANS 15:7-13 (ESV)
7 Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.
8 For I tell you that Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God’s truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, 9 and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written,
“Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles,
and sing to your name.”
10 And again it is said,
“Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people.”
11 And again,
“Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles,
and let all the peoples extol him.”
12 And again Isaiah says,
“The root of Jesse will come,
even he who arises to rule the Gentiles;
in him will the Gentiles hope.”
13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
- According to the text, what should be our motivation to “welcome one another” (vs. 7)?
- Continuing the thought about motivation, what was Christ’s motivation (aim) in becoming a servant to the Jews? And how did this ultimately affect the Gentiles (vss. 8-9)?
- The graciousness of Christ toward the Jews was designed to have a domino effect on the Gentiles—one group of changed lives introducing God’s grace to another group (vss. 9-12). The result was both groups of people praising God and finding their hope in him. Can you recall a time when the active faith or acceptance of someone else brought much needed hope to you?
- Who is it that God may want to present hope to through your acceptance (welcoming) of them?
RESPOND TO GOD
Paul closes this passage with a tender, yet powerful, whisper of a prayer (vs. 13). With a gentle confidence, he refocuses our attention back to where it ought to be—on the God of hope who can fill us with the joy and peace we forfeit when our focus is on ourselves, especially when that self-focus causes us to cease from actively including the people he has placed in our lives.
- Make Paul’s prayer your own today, for yourself and for the people in your life: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope” (Romans 15:13).
- Ask the Father who has welcomed you into his family to fill you with all you need to welcome others.