From Jerusalem to Illyricum

For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ has not accomplished through me, in word and deed, to make the Gentiles obedient—in mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God, so that from Jerusalem and round about to Illyricum I have fully preached the gospel of Christ. And so, I have made it my aim to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build on another man’s foundation, but as it is written: ‘To whom He was not announced, they shall see; and those who have not heard shall understand’” (Romans 15:18-21).

In Acts 13-21, the prophet Luke records a brief record of the apostle Paul’s extensive travels and intense toil as a minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles. In this dozen or so years of his life, the tireless apostle traveled thousands of miles so that the gospel of Christ would be fully preached to the Gentiles.

Paul’s primary focus was upon preaching where the gospel had not yet been proclaimed. He sought to be the tip of Christ’s spear, the pioneer gospel preacher who blazed a trail into the Gentiles’ dark world of spiritual ignorance. To the best of his ability, he sought to do his part in fulfilling Isaiah’s prophecy (Isaiah 52:15) of God’s servant who suffered for our iniquities, was led as a lamb to the slaughter, cut off from the land of the living, buried with the rich at His death, and raised to see His seed (Isaiah 53:1-12).

The intensity of Paul’s zeal may be illustrated geographically. A map of the ancient world will reveal Illyricum to be a mountainous province north of Macedonia (the region where Amphipolis, Thessalonica, and Berea are located). It is due east of the city of Rome, on the eastern side of the Adriatic Sea. And “as the crow flies”, Jerusalem is over a thousand miles southeast of this mountainous region.

Reread Paul’s statement in its first century context of ancient transportation and meditate upon the intense zeal which permeates it: “From Jerusalem and round about to Illyricum I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.”

   Send article as PDF   

Author: jchowning

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *