Paul was a man with a mission. He wanted to preach the gospel in places where the gospel had never been preached (Romans 15:20). His travels brought him from Jerusalem all the way to Illyricum (part of modern-day Albania and Croatia) (Romans 15:19). Paul planted churches everywhere in between. He took his inspiration from the Old Testament promises that God would reach those who didn’t know Him (Romans 15:21; Isaiah 52:15).

Paul was given grace and called to be an apostle to bring about the obedience of faith among the Gentiles (Romans 1:5). Paul took this call seriously and worked harder than anyone else (1 Corinthians 15:10) to reach the Gentiles with the gospel so that he might present them as an acceptable offering to God, set apart by the Holy Spirit (Romans 15:16). His ministry was accompanied by signs and wonders and by the power of the Spirit (Romans 15:19).

When Paul talks about his accomplishments, he isn’t bragging. He is only talking about the things Christ has accomplished through him (Romans 15:18). Paul shared his missionary success with the Romans because he is hoping that they will help him on his next missionary journey. Paul planned to stop by Rome on his way to Spain (Romans 15:24), but he would first go to Jerusalem (Romans 15:25).

Paul had already collected an offering from the churches in Macedonia and Achaia for the impoverished saints in Jerusalem (Romans 15:26; 2 Corinthians 8–9). This offering expressed in practical ways the outworking of God’s plan of salvation. God intended for the Messiah to be born to the people of Israel. The Jewish Messiah would bring mercy to all (Romans 11:32). As the Gentiles benefited from Israel’s spiritual blessings, Israel would now benefit from the Gentiles’ material blessings (Romans 15:27). After Paul delivered the gift to Jerusalem, he would make his way to Spain through Rome (Romans 15:28).

Until the time comes for Paul to meet the Romans in person, he has an urgent request. He pleads with them to strive together for him in prayer (Romans 15:29, 30). Paul knows that he has a perilous journey ahead with many enemies among those in Judea (Romans 15:31) and his only hope to complete his mission in Jerusalem and then travel to Rome and then on to Spain is the prayers of God’s people and the help of God (Romans 15:32).