READING: Proverbs 19-21, Psalm 40, Romans 16
I cannot imagine what it must have been like to be Epaenetus, whom Paul refers to as “the first convert to Christ from Asia” (Rom 16:5). I speak often about missionaries sharing the gospel in places where the gospel has not been, and I think at times about being the first person ever to speak the name of Jesus to a people group – but I don’t often think about what it must be like to be the first believer in a region.
We know little about him other than what Romans 16:5 tells us, but we can certainly wonder about Epaenetus. Was it exciting to him to be first believer? Incredibly freeing and forgiving? Frightening? Risky? Lonely at times? Whatever it was for him, we know the words of verse 5 can also speak of “firstfruits”—which implies that many other believers followed in the footsteps of Epaenetus. It’s likely that he was instrumental in sharing the gospel with others, which might explain why Paul viewed him as his “dear friend.”
To be the first to follow Jesus, and then to have the privilege of leading others to Him, too – what a blessing, even when the risks of faithfulness around the world today are real!
PRAYER: “God, use me somehow to get the gospel to others who’ve never heard.”
TOMORROW’S READING: Proverbs 22-23, Psalm 117, 1 Thessalonians 1