Day 35/366

regarding his Son, who as to his earthly life was a descendant of David, and who through the Spirit of holiness was appointed the Son of God in power by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord. 

Romans 1:3-4

Read these verses aloud five times. If you do, I think you’ll find that you squeeze something different out of the verses each time. It might seem repetitive, but I noticed that each time I read it, it seemed like different words were highlighted, and I started asking different questions about different little segments. Praise God that we have the time to spend with just a couple of verses this morning.

(Now, don’t think I’m letting you off the hook with reading the whole chapter of Romans 1. Please read it aloud today and listen to an audio clip of yourself reading it. If you didn’t hear our new groove, you can read about it in my post from yesterday: )

Let’s learn a couple of things from Paul this morning. One thing will be like augmented Sunday school stuff, another will be a little bit more. . . enigmatic, shall we say.

First of all, it is the very beginning of Paul’s letter to the Romans and he’s already talking about Jesus. And he’s not just talking about Jesus in the flippant way we sometimes do–“Y’all need Jesus”–he’s already talking about how Jesus’ resurrection from the dead is the coolest thing ever. Remember folks, Jesus’ resurrection doesn’t mean candy on Easter morning (well, it doesn’t just mean that); Jesus’ resurrection means an antidote to death! In means an escape from every physical pain and emotional burden. It means we can literally be perfect and live forever. So is it any wonder that Jesus’ resurrection is the first thing Paul wants to talk about?

Honestly, friends, if we take that Bible seriously, then something along these lines should be the first thing out of our mouths every morning. In theory, it should be the first thing we talk about when we meet someone new. You know the cliched catechistic framework: If you knew the cure for cancer, wouldn’t you run around like mad trying to let people know about (since so many people have cancer)? Well, if you know the cure to death itself, shouldn’t you run around telling as many people as you can (since so many of us are headed down the wide and easy road of utter destruction)?

So is it any wonder that Jesus’ resurrection is the first thing Paul wants to talk about?

The second thing, and I would truly appreciate your thoughts on this, is what in the world does Paul mean when he says that Jesus was appointed Son of God at the resurrection? Was he not Son of God before that? Like for all of time–as the rest of the New Testament kinda suggests? (In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God—right???)

I guess to add a little bit of nuance to the situation, Paul doesn’t actually say that Jesus was appointed Son of God at the resurrection. Rather, he was appointed Son of God in power. But even then, what does that mean? I would appreciate some guidance.

This post is day 33 in a 366 day series. If you’d like, check out one of our “Getting Started” posts to learn more about our overall mission to memorize the book of Romans in one year.

One thought

  1. As I grew up in Greece, I’m lucky enough to be able to read it in the original Greek: “τοῦ ὁρισθέντος υἱοῦ Θεοῦ ἐν δυνάμει κατὰ πνεῦμα ἁγιωσύνης ἐξ ἀναστάσεως νεκρῶν, Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ τοῦ Κυρίου ἡμῶν”

    The key word here, and the one that’s thrown you off, is “ὁρισθέντος.” It could be interpreted as “defined,” “shown to be,” or “appointed,” all of them being equally valid. My translation of the passage, then, is this:

    “Jesus, whose power stemmed from the Spirit that springs holiness, was shown to all to be God’s Son through His resurrection.”

    It can be pretty hard to untangle the meaning of such a loaded phrase, especially when the original words carry multiple meanings!


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