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The day Jesus' victory over death and evil became clear

April 4, 2024

Daily Scripture

Romans 1:1-5

1 From Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for God’s good news. 2-3 God promised this good news about his Son ahead of time through his prophets in the holy scriptures. His Son was descended from David. 4 He was publicly identified as God’s Son with power through his resurrection from the dead, which was based on the Spirit of holiness. This Son is Jesus Christ our Lord. 5 Through him we have received God’s grace and our appointment to be apostles. This was to bring all Gentiles to faithful obedience for his name’s sake.

Daily Reflection & Prayer

Paul started his great letter to Roman Christians with not only his credentials, but with “in its most essential outline the gospel which he preached.” * He said the good news is about God’s Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. With that, “Paul implies that the Roman emperor isn’t God’s Son,” ** which was what Rome claimed for its emperors. And “we know Jesus is Messiah [“Anointed One,” “Christ” in Greek], and we announce him as such, because he’s been raised from the dead.” ***

  • In addition to divine sonship, Rome declared its emperor the world’s “Lord.” Easter showed us that “the ‘good news’ is not, first and foremost, about something that can happen to us…. The ‘good news’ Paul announces is primarily good news about something that has happened, events through which the world is now a different place. It is about what God has done in Jesus, the Messiah, Israel’s true king, the world’s true Lord.” **** Who/what rivals Jesus as your world’s Lord today?

  • Paul said God had promised the pivotal events in Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection “through his prophets,” in passages like Psalm 2:7. But Jesus’ resurrection was the event that set him apart from all the brave martyrs who had served God, that made Jesus’ identity as God’s Son, Messiah, and Lord unmistakable. How does the Easter event shape your faith and trust in Jesus?


Living Lord Jesus, Paul trusted that however imposing Rome looked to human eyes, you were a bigger deal. Help me keep learning to trust you above all the seemingly bigger deals in my world. Amen.

GPS Insights

Justin Burnett

Justin Burnett

Justin Burnett serves as a Missions Engagement Program Director for Resurrection's Leawood campus. He is a Missouri native who graduated from Drury University with a Bachelor of Science in Emergency Management. Recently, Justin moved to Overland Park, Kansas to attend Saint Paul School of Theology, answering God's call to professional ministry. In his spare time, he enjoys nature, travel, film, and music—​singing with the Leawood modern worship team on occasion.

Romans 5:1-5 reveals the history-shaping kingship of Jesus Christ. In the passage, Jesus’ kingly lineage is traced, with Christ’s resurrection and life of holiness distinguishing him from all earthy kings. The appointment of apostles is discussed, too. Students of history might even view this part of kingdom-building through the medieval lens of knighting.

However, Jesus did not come to establish an earthly kingship or to knight warriors—much to his disciples’ dismay. This matter even came up while our Lord was on trial, to which Jesus replied: “My kingdom doesn’t originate from this world” (John 18:36, CEB). While earthly kings and modern-day rulers are consumed by the pursuit of power, Jesus gave us the only fulfilling alternative to this power struggle: a kingship based upon God’s loving grace.

The words of a classic hymn, “I Surrender All,” speaks of this as a self-denying journey. When we surrender all to Jesus’ kingship, our Savior’s agape love frees us from the pursuit of earthly power. This divine realignment allows us to see others through the eyes of our loving King.
But how does this truth specifically relate to us today? Well, in the midst of another divisive election year, recognizing the kingship of Jesus Christ is a clarifying and comforting thought. Rather than despair at the degree of division, let us remember that God’s loving grace covers it all—especially those with whom we disagree. After all, it was Jesus who admonished us to love our enemies and extend hospitality to persons outside of our comfort zones (Matthew 5:43-48). ​While this is easier when both sides approach a topic with mutual respect, that value is not always present in this broken world. In these cases, our flesh wants to respond in-kind to a slight. However, let us choose forgiveness instead by repeating the ever-timely words of King Jesus: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34, CEB).
© 2024 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

* William Barclay, The Letter to the Romans (Revised Edition). Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1975, p. 14.
** Michael J. Gorman, study note on Romans 1:2 in The CEB Study Bible. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2013, p. 277 NT.
*** Wright, N. T., Paul for Everyone: 1 Corinthians (The New Testament for Everyone) (p. 208). Westminster John Knox Press. Kindle Edition.
**** Wright, N. T., Paul for Everyone: Romans, Part One: Chapters 1-8 (The New Testament for Everyone) (p. 1). Westminster John Knox Press. Kindle Edition.