Two of the most influential early apostles, and most people have never heard of them. Here is the background story.
Romans 16 remains for me a favourite, as Paul was writing fondly to thanks and be remembered to so many of the early Christians. People that helped the cause, people that paid for things, fed him, early evangelists.
Tucked away in verse 7 of the chapter we read of Andronicus and Junia, have a read of this.
'Greet Andronicus and Junia, my countrymen and my fellow prisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me'. (Romans 16:7 - NKJV)
It's a portion of scripture I had read many time, but I started to dig deep into this one verse - there is so much information contained there.
There is debate as to whether Andronicus and Junia and man and wife or brother and sister. Paul hints that they were relatives of his. He then makes a reference of them serving in prison with him, no doubt during one of his missionary jounerys.
What struck me next was that he says they were of note (another version says great among the apostles, yet it's the only time in scripture you hear of their name.
Then to end he acknowledges that they became Christians before he did (That's intimate knowledge, which makes me think they were married and direct relatives of Paul.
So lets recap
Likely to be a married couple - relative of Saul now Paul
They had been on missionary journey and got imprisoned for their Faith
They were of note among the apostles
They became Christians before Sauls Damascus road experience
The early apostles were no push overs, many died for the Gospel of Jesus they were spreading. These were active, often fearless people who travelled at their own expense, giving up the pleasures of life to preach Jesus.
Because they were Christians when Paul was Saul. That would have meant they were relatives of someone who was mandated to kill the influencers of early Christianity. Sauls own family were involved in what he was trying to destroy.
All of this brought me to a question. What were they doing before Saul's conversion ? What were they praying ? Did they shrink back and hide or were they digging into pleading with God that He would intervene in Sauls life and see the truth. I think the latter. They don't seem like people who were afraid.
So did the prayers of family members influence Sauls Damascus Road salvation ? You decide ?
I know when I look at this that they were then far more zealous than I am now. I don't pray for my family with the apostolic zeal that Andronicus and Junia did.
I wonder if we all set aside a week or a month, with no TV, no Cell Phone, no distraction and fasted and prayed for our families, what the outcome would be. If we said to God - I am not giving up, I am not moving from here until there is a breakthrough in their lives.
Saul, who was the biggest single threat to early Christianity became its most impassioned early apostle. I can't help think that someone prayed.....
I am going to do more in this area of prayer for my family.
Here's some information about both of them and the picture below is from the Greek history recorded about them