Romans 15:23 But now that there is no more place for me to work in these regions, and since I have been longing for many years to visit you, 24 I plan to do so when I go to Spain. I hope to see you while passing through and to have you assist me on my journey there, after I have enjoyed your company for a while. 25 Now, however, I am on my way to Jerusalem in the service of the Lord’s people there. 26 For Macedonia and Achaia were pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the Lord’s people in Jerusalem. 27 They were pleased to do it, and indeed they owe it to them. For if the Gentiles have shared in the Jews’ spiritual blessings, they owe it to the Jews to share with them their material blessings. 28 So after I have completed this task and have made sure that they have received this contribution, I will go to Spain and visit you on the way. 29 I know that when I come to you, I will come in the full measure of the blessing of Christ.
30 I urge you, brothers and sisters, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me. 31 Pray that I may be kept safe from the unbelievers in Judea and that the contribution I take to Jerusalem may be favorably received by the Lord’s people there, 32 so that I may come to you with joy, by God’s will, and in your company be refreshed. 33 The God of peace be with you all. Amen.
I want to share from the commentary.
The ancient Greek word translated strive together is sunagonizomai — literally meaning, “agonize together.” This is the only place in the New Testament where this specific word is used.
Paul asked the Gentiles to pray for him. He needed them to pray that he would live long enough to finish what he considered his plan for the Christian Church.
Meanwhile, the Jewish community who were adamantly opposed to "The Way", were very upset about his plan. He was teaching that circumcision was no longer necessary. This was a huge deal! He was preaching that Kosher wasn't necessary. This was another huge deal!
After all, Abraham was circumcised by God Himself. What is more important than the act that God Himself performed for Abraham? That's a big deal to just "forget".
After all, kosher was instructed by God through Moses! Thats another big deal to just "forget".
The Jewish community was set aside by God. How dare this Greco Roman Jew just decide to declare Moses' laws were no longer relevant?
Those in the Jewish community nearly killed Paul for saying these things. That's how he got to Rome in the first place. He went to Rome to avoid being put to death by Rome for the Sanhedrin as they had done with Jesus and Stephen. Since he was a Roman Citizen, he went to Rome to testify about "The Way". He had been a member of the Sanhedrin in the past. He was a member of the Sanhedrin when he held the coats while his cohorts murdered Stephen. Now they wanted to murder him.... because he preached that having your thing cut and following specific dietary rules were no longer as important as loving one another, and caring for one another.
Paul asked everyone to pray for him.
Paul was on his way to Jerusalem with funding for "The Way". Christians in Jerusalem were hunted down. They were not welcome in the Temple any more. They were not welcome in the Jewish community. They were considered to be snubbing their noses at Abraham, Moses, and most importantly, God. The lack of circumcision and food restrictions were not taken lightly. After all, the descendants of Abraham were set aside by God. Who were these people to just decide to change the ways things were laid out by God through Moses and Abraham?
Who told Paul he could invite the Gentiles?
Paul asked everyone to "strive together" because the Jewish community didn't like being called irrelevant. Paul asked the Christians to pray for his life.
"sunagonizomai" is Greek for "striving together".