Friday, January 21, 2011

Romans 16

These are the names of those to whom Paul sent greetings.  I wondered what they meant, as he seemed to be speaking a particular meaning or blessing to many of them in his correspondence.  After looking at the meanings, I realized that they were no longer just Radiant or Praiseworthy or Their Rebellion...they were believers in the Lord Jesus such, they were now Radiant in the Lord Jesus Christ, Praiseworthy in the Name of God, Their Rebellion for the Holy (and no longer the unholy).  They were who they were; but they were in Jesus.

Some of them had most unfortunate names; but they were new in the horrible naming was no longer their legacy.  They were in Christ Jesus.  So, Stupidity was now Fool for Christ.  I love the transformation Christ brings us with salvation.

How extraordinary that the first Asian-Christian ever is noted.  Epaenetus.  I know God is no respecter of persons; but being 2000 years on the other side of this, I am greatly encouraged that God would make mention of the very first Asian believer...especially given what hardship they face, what persecution they endure, what threats they know...and what utter darkness they have experienced for so long.  But there was one, there was a beginning to the faith-response in Asia and it was taken down for us.  Always in the details is where I find my God's handiwork.

Finally, Paul recognizes the saints.  The Saints.  The believers in Christ Jesus.  Not some elite group of super holy, super sacrificing, super super workers in the Kingdom - but the rest of the followers of Christ.  The Saints...folks like you and me.  Just folks.  But the word Paul uses refers to the most holy thing....believers who have the Holy Spirit...the most holy...the holy of holies.  That's our description...the ones who give home to the most holy...and we are made holy.  Interestingly enough, the word is derived from the most awful thing.  And that to me is what the message of this text is.  Jesus came and took the most awful things and made them we are now _________ of the Lord Jesus, _________ to God, etc.  We have been redefined by God for He redesigned us in Him.

Name             Meaning                    Paul's nomenclature
Phoebe        radiant                     servant and helper of many
Aquilla         eagle                        fellow worker, life-risker, host
Priska           ancient                    fellow worker, life-risker, host
Epaenetus    praiseworthy           my beloved, first Asian-Christian
Mary             their rebellion         hard worker
Andronicus   man of victory         kinsman, fellow prisoner, outstanding apostle
Junias           youthful                  Kinsman, fellow prisoner, outstanding apostle    
Ampliatus     large                        my beloved
Urbanus        of the city, polite   fellow worker
Stachys         head of grain           my beloved, (1 of the 70 disciples)
Apelles         called                       approved
Aristobulus   best councilor
Herodion      heroic                      my kinsman
Narcissus      stupidity, 
                     or flower
Tryphaena    luxurious                 worker in the Lord
Tryphos        luxuriating               worker in the Lord
Persis           Persian woman         beloved, hard-worker in the Lord
Rufus            red                           choice man in the Lord
Asyncritus    incomparable          
Phlegon        burning
Hermes        herald of the gods
Patrobas      paternal
Hermas        Mercury (tradition says he was one of the seventy)
brethren     brother whether by parents, nation, belief, affection                      
Philologos   lover of the Word
Julia            soft-haired, also name of many royal figures in first century
Nereus         Old Gentleman of the sea because he is trustworthy, and gentle,
                    and never forgetful of what is right, but the thoughts of his mind 
                    are mild and righteous (from Hesiod, Theogony 233; Wikipedia)
Olympas       heavenly
saints (hagios)     most holy thing...from the word hagos-an awful thing

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