Devotions for the week of: May 6, 2020


Romans 16:7 (NRSV)

Greet Andronicus and Junia, my relatives who were in prison with me; they are prominent among the apostles, and they were in Christ before I was.

Junia. If you’re hoping for a thorough explanation about who Junia is as a character in the Bible, I’m sorry. Biblical scholars just don’t know much about Junia. What is known is: Junia is a blood relative (could also be translated as compatriot) of Paul. The two were imprisoned together at some point, but the location or time of that imprisonment is uncertain.

The name “Junia” itself holds disagreement. Biblical scholars have translated it in the feminine as Junia and in the masculine as Junias. It could go in either way.

But, for the sake of what we need to hear, especially in this anniversary year, let’s tip the scales. The first observers of the empty tomb and resurrected Christ were women.  And, that is a big deal!  What if the early church decided to continue that unusual, powerful trend? According to Paul, Junia was “prominent among the apostles,” and “in Christ before (Paul) was.” The early Christian church grew the group of the initial 12+ apostles, amazingly deciding to include women as apostles – because women like Junia had paved the way for others (like Paul) in the faith. The early church could not and did not deny it.  Earthshaking and Spirit led!

Junia. She was an apostle who was willing to be imprisoned for her faith and willing to strive with the other apostles to relay the message of Jesus Christ to the people of the world. Although she is only mentioned briefly in the entire Bible, she is a big deal. Let’s remember her as one of the fore-parents of our faith.

Pastor Jon Splichal Larson
Sioux Falls, SD

Gracious God, open our minds and hearts to the surprising ways of the Holy Spirit at work in your church. Help us to remember those who have paved the way before us, leading us deeper into the faith. Amen.

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