2 "I ask you to receive her in the Lord in a way worthy of his people and to give her any help she may need from you, for she has been the benefactor of many people, including me."
Romans 16 may seem like one big greeting letter with nothing more than a list of names. But it is far more than a list of names. The chapter begins with Paul greeting Phoebe, a servant of the church. Of the names mentioned, Phoebe seems to be the only person traveling to Rome. The others listed seem to already be settled and living in Rome prior to the sending of this letter. Paul uses many words to describe his relationships with those whom he desires the people of Rome to greet; but when he speaks of Phoebe he uses the word sister. He calls her “our sister” which shows the connection and family-like environment within the church in Rome. Paul is asking the church to receive her as their sister and to fulfil all of her needs when she arrives there. Phoebe is also the only one to be commended by Paul. Next we see Paul describe Phoebe in verse one as a servant to the church in Cenchreae. The word servant can also be translated to the word deacon. Phoebe may have well been the deacon of the church in Cenchreae; although it may have been a highly unpopular practice, there was no reason why a woman could not have been a deacon during that time. She is said to have helped many in need and to be a patron (helper/servant) to Paul as well. In return for her good deeds to Paul, he is asking that the people of the church in Rome take her in and treat her the same way she has treated others.
From the beginning of the Christian church, numerous women have played crucial roles in the growth and ministry of the church. Whether it is as both partners in marriage or as single women, they have been vital instruments in the growth of the church. The great women of the Bible were fearless, they put their own lives in jeopardy, and were faithful and God fearing throughout all walks of life. In Deborah in Judges 4, we see a prophetess who was a judge to the people of Israel and gave her wisdom and prophetic council for the betterment of the people. As a result of her effective leadership, she gave 40 years of peace to the Israelites. Women have never been watching from the side. Instead the courage, hard work, dedication, and the roles played by women in the history of the missions are remarkable in so many ways.
Lord, we thank you for the numerous roles women have had in the history of our church. We thank you for the continued strength and leadership women continue to show in our church today. We pray that you help and strengthen them for the betterment of our church and community, as well as to help those who are striving to become leaders among us. Amen.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY:
“Everyone has inside of her a piece of good news. The good news is that you don’t know how great you can be, how much you can love, what you can accomplish, and what your potential is.” —Anne Frank
Community Formation Around Resurrection Experience Acts 23:1-10 Vinod Johnson Carmel MTC, Boston, MA 6 When Paul noticed that some were Sadducees and others were Pharisees, he called out in the council, “Brothers, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees. I am on trial concerning the hope of the resurrection of the dead.” Sometimes, the only thing that keeps you going through a brutal winter is the hope for the spring. It may have been a hard hope to hold on to this particular year in New England - a year in which Boston considered dumping not tea, but the ever growing mounds of snow into its harbor. And yet, the waist deep snow has dissolved away. White desolation has given way to increasingly visible green shoots of spring. A resurrection is at hand! In this passage, Paul tries to defend himself before the Sanhedrin Council. He seeks to drive a wedge between the Pharisees who believed in resurrection and the Sadducees who did not; even though neither believed in the resur
Revelation for Liberation Acts 27:18-26 Sherine Thomas Long Island MTC, NY 20 When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small tempest raged, all hope of our being saved was at last abandoned. “After winter comes the summer. After night comes the dawn. And after every storm, there comes clear open skies” so said a Scottish clergyman from the 1600s. It’s been said, that hope can sometimes be the most dangerous weapon. However, it’s sometimes the hardest weapon to carry when you’re living with the loss of a loved one, something that almost feels like a terrible nightmare that’ll never go away. It’s a weapon difficult to carry when day in and day out no one seems to hear or see those tears that are shed or silent cries that are made during a heartfelt prayer. It’s a weapon difficult to carry as you see your loved one lying on that hospital bed. It’s a weapon difficult to carry as you search and seek out answers to tell a child as to why they’ve been a
PRIESTHOOD: THE ANOINTED MINISTRY Exodus 40:12-16 Bring Aaron and his sons to the entrance to the Tent of Meeting... wash them with water. Then dress Aaron in the sacred garments, anoint him and consecrate him so he may serve me as priest (Exodus 40: 12-13). Priesthood among the people of God was a divine command and initiation. God wanted some people to be separated for the special ministry among his people. God appointed Aaron and his descendants to take up this kind of ministry among the people of God. Priests are always separated and appointed as channels that connect God with his people. All throughout the history of Israel, priests played an important role in connecting people with God and to lead and guide them in the statutes of God. But there are incidents in the Bible where the priests failed in their duties and that led the people to go away from God. So the priests have a special and significant ministry to perform in this world among his people. Two important things