Autograph (Romans 16:22)

The baseball whizzed by as it sliced through the evening air with a sharp hiss. We were watching the pitcher and catcher of the visiting team warming up in the bullpen. After several minutes, the two stopped to rest and the pitcher walked over to where we were standing. 

“We have to get his autograph!’

“Yeah!” I nodded. “But who is he?”

“Who cares? Just so long as we get it!”

I asked the pitcher if he would sign my baseball and he politely obliged. My friend and I were attending a game of the Hawaii Islanders. It was 1969 and at that time, this was the only professional athletic team in Hawaii. The Islanders were a minor league, triple AAA baseball team and a feeder team for the major league club, the San Diego Padres. Some of the players we saw would end up playing in the major leagues. Thus, if we were able to get an autograph of any player, regardless of the team, it was in the hope that this player may someday become famous. If we did, perhaps the autograph would become valuable. Alas. Although I had covered my baseball with over twenty autographs, none of them ever went on to become famous in the major leagues. 

God, the Holy Spirit, directed many men to write the Bible. In many of the books, the authors used a scribe, also known as an amanuensis. In the Old Testament, the prophet Jeremiah used the amanuensis Baruch to write his words (Jeremiah 36:4). The Apostle Paul also used an amanuensis. In several of his letters, he does not name the scribe but instead signs the letter himself, authenticating it. 

HERE IS MY GREETING IN MY OWN HANDWRITING—PAUL.

1 Corinthians 16:21 (NLT)

However, in one letter, Paul allows his amanuensis, Tertius, to sign the letter and add a special message. 

I, Tertius, the one writing this letter for Paul, send my greetings, too, as one of the Lord’s followers.

Romans 16:22 (NLT)

It was an ancient autograph. Like the autographs of minor league baseball players, the name Tertius may remain a historical footnote. However, unlike the autographs that were on my baseball, every person named in the Bible is a major league player in terms of importance. The name Tertius means ‘third” implying that he was most likely a Roman slave. At that time in history, it was unprecedented that Paul would honor a slave by allowing him to sign this letter. Yet, Paul was sending a very clear message to all Christians. All believers were sons and daughters of the living God and equal before Him.

In God’s Kingdom, every autograph of His children has eternal significance and importance. If you have confessed and repented of our sins and accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, your name is written in the Book of Life, securing your salvation and eternal life. 

Amen!

Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.

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