Unlimited: The Apostle to the Gentiles
May 24, 2023 239
I am talking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I take pride in my ministry 14 in the hope that I may somehow arouse my own people to envy and save some of them (Romans 11:13–14).
Paul takes pride in the task that God has given him, to bring the Gospel to the Gentiles. His pride isn’t in his accomplishments, but in the ministry that he has been given. As he wrote to the Corinthian church,
Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord (1 Cor. 1:31.)
Paul’s heart has been focused on his own people, the Jews, and now he feels obligated to briefly return to his audience, which is made up of Gentile believers in Rome. His purpose is to explain why, since he has such a passion for the salvation of his own people, his efforts in ministry are directed to the Gentiles.
Paul is hoping that seeing the joyful acceptance of the Gospel by the Gentiles, Jewish people will also likewise respond to Christ in faith.
As Paul has told us many times, he has been called to be an apostle to the Gentiles. Despite this, his hope is that as the Jews see what God is accomplishing through him, some of them will be saved. He refers to rousing his own people to “envy,” which is a very strong word in our language.
Ancient languages are prone to hyperbole (exaggeration), and words had a much broader scope of meaning than in English. The word really simply means that Paul is hoping that seeing the joyful acceptance of the Gospel by the Gentiles, Jewish people will also likewise respond to Christ in faith.
Every one of us who has been chosen by God has also been called by him. What is your calling in life? Do you fulfil it with pride?