Plan to Visit Rome
22 For this reason I also have been much hindered from coming to you. 23 But now no longer having a place in these parts, and having a great desire these many years to come to you, 24 whenever I journey to Spain, I shall come to you. For I hope to see you on my journey, and to be helped on my way there by you, if first I may enjoy your company for a while. 25 But now I am going to Jerusalem to minister to the saints. 26 For it pleased those from Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor among the saints who are in Jerusalem. 27 It pleased them indeed, and they are their debtors. For if the Gentiles have been partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is also to minister to them in material things. 28 Therefore, when I have performed this and have sealed to them this fruit, I shall go by way of you to Spain. 29 But I know that when I come to you, I shall come in the fullness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ.
30 Now I beg you, brethren, through the Lord Jesus Christ, and through the love of the Spirit, that you strive together with me in prayers to God for me, 31 that I may be delivered from those in Judea who do not believe, and that my service for Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints, 32 that I may come to you with joy by the will of God, and may be refreshed together with you. 33 Now the God of peace be with you all. Amen.
Paul’s heart was to meet with his Christian brothers and sisters in Rome and it had been his intention to do so many times but he had always been hindered by one thing or another. Whether it be weather, or ministry opportunities, he was never able to get to them. He has it set in his heart, however, that after he delivers a financial contribution (not coerced, but a free gift from the new believers who heard that the believers in Jerusalem were having a hard time finding work as the Jewish community shunned them and their businesses) to the church in Jerusalem he would go and meet with them. Did he know that God’s plan for him to reach Rome would go through many years in prison and death threats (Acts 21-28)? Nope. All he knew was that God was leading him to Rome and that he would be safe until he arrived there. Granted, it’s his PLAN to go to Spain, but we know that never happened. We may not see it now, or even in this lifetime but it will be revealed to us when we are with Him in glory. Remember that Paul, were he just going to Spain, would not have been able to address the whole body of leadership in Judea and Samaria (Acts 25-26), and later to appeal to the whole court of Caesar in Rome (Acts 28:17-31). Never forget – God’s plans are not the same as our plans, but God’s plans are always better.