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Romans 16:8: Greet Ampliatus, My Beloved in the Lord.

Romans 16:8

Greet Ampliatus, my beloved in the Lord. (ESV)

Let's consider things that are common and things that are uncommon. At first glance, we can look at this name, Ampliatus, as a very uncommon name. It is only mentioned once in Scripture. It is likely that as you are reading this you probably cannot think of someone with this name. We do not know a whole lot about who Ampliatus was, this uncommon person who was loved by Paul in the Lord.

Dr. John MacArthur posits that this name was "a common name among the emperor's household slaves at that time; he may have been one of those in 'Caesar's household.' (MacArthur Study Bible Notes)" Being a slave made one "common." Distinction was lost, as was much of your identity. Your identity was found in who you belonged to. This uncommon man, Ampliatus, was a common slave.

Paul himself knew what it was like to be common and what it was like to be uncommon. In the book of Philippians he expounds on how uncommon he was. He lists his spiritual pedigree. He was a pharisee of Pharisees (Philippians 3:5). This is before he was called of God to salvation. As an uncommon man he was a persecutor of the church.

Consider how Paul begins this letter to the church at Rome: "Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus". He does not emphasize being uncommon. Rather, he is content to be known as a common slave of Jesus. His identity was now found in who he belonged to. It seems that Paul loved Ampliatus partly because he had a lot in common with him. And so do we.

Where is your identity? Is it in pursuing an uncommon superiority to others? Or do you find your identity in the one in whom you serve? Let us be common slaves of an uncommon God who loves us.