Romans 16:1-9 NKJV
16 I commend to you Phoebe our sister, who is a servant of the church in Cenchrea, 2 that you may receive her in the Lord in a manner worthy of the saints, and assist her in whatever business she has need of you; for indeed she has been a helper of many and of myself also.
3 Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, 4 who risked their own necks for my life, to whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles. 5 Likewise greet the church that is in their house.
Greet my beloved Epaenetus, who is the firstfruits of Achaia to Christ. 6 Greet Mary, who labored much for us. 7 Greet Andronicus and Junia, my countrymen and my fellow prisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me.
8 Greet Amplias, my beloved in the Lord. 9 Greet Urbanus, our fellow worker in Christ, and Stachys, my beloved.
“We Are Family” is the name of a song released in 1979 by the group Sister Sledge. “Family Ties” was a popular sitcom from 1982-89 which extolled the blessings of a close and loving family. And if you’re old enough you can probably recall many other songs and/or TV shows which featured families and their lives together.
In today’s reading, Paul asks the Christians in Rome to greet many other Christians who were instrumental in helping others, even to the point of being imprisoned. He commends Phoebe who was a benefactor of Paul and others. He asks the Roman Christians to greet Priscilla, Aquila, Epenetus, Mary, Andronicus and Junia, Ampliatus, Urbanus, and Stachys. These people were all “family” on account of their joint faith and trust in Christ. Even though some of these people may never have met in person, they still were family; they were still connected to each other in the way that only Christians can boast of.
One of the cool things about Christianity is that, even though you may not be related by blood, all Christians are part of the family of God, having been grafted in by God-given faith in Christ. We are all related to one another as fellow redeemed. We all have had our sins paid for, we worship the Lord together (even though distanced by geography), and we all share the same gifts that Christ gives – His forgiveness, life, and salvation because of his substitutionary suffering and death for all mankind.
Here’s how Paul states it in I Cor 12: 12-13: “For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.” Through faith Christ has tied us all together into one body because He sacrificed his own body on the tree of the cross for us all.
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, thank You for grafting me into Your family. Let me always be a blessing to my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. Amen.