In Paul’s portrait gallery of those saints in the church at Rome, to whom he was deeply indebted and to whom he sent warm greetings, another Mary has honorable mention. All we know about her is in Paul’s personal salutation, “Greet Mary, who bestowed much labour upon us” (Romans 16:6). Among the twenty saints Paul designated by name, Mary is the only one with a Jewish name. It is quite likely that this Roman lady adopted this name, with its hallowed associations, at her conversion and baptism, and such a combination exemplifies how Christianity binds all in one bond of fellowship. If she was a Jewess she yet labored for the uplift of Rome—Judah’s oppressor.
How Mary labored energetically for Paul and his co-workers we are not told. Evidently she had a capacity peculiar to herself for lightening the apostle’s heavy load, and furthered thereby the cause of the Lord. As another Roman female, Persis, is mentioned in the list as having “laboured much in the Lord” (16:12), Kuyper was led to suggest that Mary and Persis were evangelists who were employed in making the gospel known in the same way as the Salvation Army uses women today. These godly women exerted their influence in every possible way to aid Paul in making Christ known. Whatever personal gifts, or means, they possessed were dedicated to the Lord whose saving grace they had experienced. Paul thus commends them for their sacrificial and unstinted service.
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