It is hard to believe that we are finishing up Romans today. In Paul’s farewell chapter he takes the opportunity to give greetings and shout out to those who have been significant in his ministry and in the ministry of those churches across the regions where he has proclaimed the Gospel. There are some very familiar names listed. Timothy is probably the best known, you can’t miss Junia in vs.7 who is described as a prominent apostle. And who said women weren’t apostles?
Did you know that Paul didn’t actually write this letter? I mean, he wrote it, like Michelangelo painted the Sistine Chapel, but he actually had a scribe. Notice in vs.22 where Tertius gives a shout out to himself. Now that’s different. I do love Paul’s exhortation to greet one another with a holy kiss. That is taken quite literally in the Mediterranean countries. Whenever I go to Italy and I greet my friends, men and women, we greet with a kiss, actually two, one on each cheek. I’ll never forget when we first served in Florida after 4 years in Italy and at the end of my first worship service there I went to the back of the sanctuary to greet everyone, as I do now, and I began by giving each person two kisses, one on each cheek. It was just second nature and I didn’t even think about it. It didn’t last long. I realized that this simply was not done here. I guess I take the Bible too literally.