From there (Rome), when the brethren heard about us, they came to meet us. … When Paul saw them, he thanked God and took courage.
Acts 28, 15
The apostle Paul was filled with gratitude and confidence, when he met the brethren from Rome. Some years previously he had written to them from Corinth: “If, by some means, now at last I may find a way in the will of God to come to you. For I long to see you” (Romans 1, 10.11). The last chapters of the Acts relate how this wish was fulfilled far differently from what he had imagined.
After being taken prisoner in Jerusalem, the apostle was not spared chains and tribulation. Finally he had to travel to Italy to be tried by the Roman emperor. The long voyage with all its dangers and disasters was now behind him. And on this final stretch our faithful God was to grant His servant special encouragement. The brethren from Rome approached him; and the apostle, who had experienced so much bitter disappointment from the Jews, his brethren according to the flesh, now found refreshment and fortification through his brethren in Christ. “When Paul saw them, he thanked God and took courage.”
How valuable true, brotherly fellowship in the Lord Jesus is for our life of faith! The measure of our love towards Christ is our love for our brethren, with whom God has brought us together for our mutual support. We all need the care and support of our fellow believers. Today’s passage from the Bible gives us a heart-warming example.