001 – Slave Letter (Romans: A Life of Faith)
The Apostle Paul is a towering figure in the history of Western Civilization. Few would argue with his importance as a philosopher, theologian, and socio-political reformer. Almost single-handedly, Paul established the importance of Jesus the Messiah’s birth, death, and resurrection for the non-Jewish world. He was unique within the history of his own people as well. Trained by the finest rabbinical teachers of his day, Paul was a “pharisee of pharisees.” By his own admission, he was zealous for God’s Law, surpassing all of his contemporaries. And yet, he was equally a master of Greek philosophy, able to confront the Imperial power of Rome while making subtle use of their own intellectual heritage.
Despite all of that, Paul opens his letter to the Roman Church by identifying himself as a slave of Jesus, Israel’s Messiah and Lord of all the world. This message grapples with the questions, “Why would he do that and what does it mean for us?”