So here we are in the first week of Advent. Yesterday’s second reading from Romans told us, “…you know the time, it is the hour now for you to awake from sleep. For our salvation is nearer now than we first believed.” Although Paul was making his best effort to encourage his readers to live a life worthy of the Lord because he felt that the second coming must be very soon, the verse made me think of Advent.
This verse points us to the beginning of our waiting and preparation for the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ! We are to hit “pause” and contemplate what the world would have been without Christ! This is most important during this season when it is so easy to get caught up in the activities that mean very little when compared to our salvation because of this birth!
Another interesting fact about this particular letter:
Most scholars believe that Paul wrote this while he was in Corinth between 51 and 55 AD. Phoebe, whom Paul describes as a deacon (diakonon, masc., Greek) and as a helper or patron of many (prostatis, one who should be esteemed highly because of their work,Greek), was his emissary to Rome and it was she who delivered this letter to Rome on his behalf. This is the only place in the New Testament where a woman is given these honors and it was necessary to describe her thus because it was an introduction to those in Rome who would receive the letter. Paul would not have entrusted a communication with Rome to just anyone, this introduction gave her authority that was rare for women in the 1st century.
Paul was a witness to the honor that Christ bestowed on women during his ministry. He continued what he had seen modeled by Christ through his trust in Phoebe. ‘I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a deacon of the church in Cenchreae. 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 16:1-2