BACK TO WORK
Lord, may I never be ashamed to own You and defend Your cause, for Your glory.
Read Acts 28:17–31
Paul Preaches at Rome Under Guard
17 Three days later he called together the local Jewish leaders. When they had assembled, Paul said to them: “My brothers, although I have done nothing against our people or against the customs of our ancestors, I was arrested in Jerusalem and handed over to the Romans. 18 They examined me and wanted to release me, because I was not guilty of any crime deserving death. 19 The Jews objected, so I was compelled to make an appeal to Caesar. I certainly did not intend to bring any charge against my own people. 20 For this reason I have asked to see you and talk with you. It is because of the hope of Israel that I am bound with this chain.”
21 They replied, “We have not received any letters from Judea concerning you, and none of our people who have come from there has reported or said anything bad about you. 22 But we want to hear what your views are, for we know that people everywhere are talking against this sect.”
23 They arranged to meet Paul on a certain day, and came in even larger numbers to the place where he was staying. He witnessed to them from morning till evening, explaining about the kingdom of God, and from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets he tried to persuade them about Jesus. 24 Some were convinced by what he said, but others would not believe. 25 They disagreed among themselves and began to leave after Paul had made this final statement: “The Holy Spirit spoke the truth to your ancestors when he said through Isaiah the prophet:
26 “‘Go to this people and say,
“You will be ever hearing but never understanding;
you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.”
27 For this people’s heart has become calloused;
they hardly hear with their ears,
and they have closed their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
hear with their ears,
understand with their hearts
and turn, and I would heal them.’[a]
28 “Therefore I want you to know that God’s salvation has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will listen!”  [b]
30 For two whole years Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him. 31 He proclaimed the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ—with all boldness and without hindrance!
a Acts 28:27 Isaiah 6:9,10 (see Septuagint)
b Acts 28:29 Some manuscripts include here After he said this, the Jews left, arguing vigorously among themselves.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectHow do you think Paul felt to finally be in Rome and yet be imprisoned?
Is this the end of the story? Whether Paul was executed at the end of the two years or some time later we don’t know. But we do know what he did in Rome, which was what he did everywhere else. He preached to the Jews first and then to the Gentiles. Do I have that same clarity about what God wants me to do? And do I then live it out?
Paul couldn’t wait to get going. Chained to a Roman soldier and under a gentle kind of house arrest, he made contact with the Jewish leaders only three days after arriving (17). He explained how he had gotten to Rome and that despite what they may have heard (which was nothing—21!) he was a loyal Jew. Indeed, that was why he was there (22). So they set up a day conference when they could hear Paul’s views (22,23). From morning to evening Paul explained about the kingdom of God and “tried to persuade them about Jesus” from their Scriptures (23).
The response was normal: some believed and some wouldn’t (24; Acts 17:32–34), but Paul knew others would listen (28). And so for the next two years Paul simply got on with his task (31).
Think carefully: how would you proclaim the kingdom of God and teach about Jesus (30) today? How can you share God’s truth in love with those around you? What do they most need to hear?
Lord, help me to be like Paul and to share You with the world no matter my circumstances.
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