Day 38 - Acts 28:16 - 21 - 40 Days in the Book of Acts

Acts 28:16 - 21

16 And when we came into Rome, Paul was allowed to stay by himself, with the soldier who guarded him.  17 After three days he called together the local leaders of the Jews, and when they had gathered, he said to them, “Brothers, though I had done nothing against our people or the customs of our fathers, yet I was delivered as a prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans. 18 When they had examined me, they wished to set me at liberty, because there was no reason for the death penalty in my case. 19 But because the Jews objected, I was compelled to appeal to Caesar—though I had no charge to bring against my nation. 20 For this reason, therefore, I have asked to see you and speak with you, since it is because of the hope of Israel that I am wearing this chain.” 21 And they said to him, “We have received no letters from Judea about you, and none of the brothers coming here has reported or spoken any evil about you. 22 But we desire to hear from you what your views are, for with regard to this sect we know that everywhere it is spoken against.”

Paul invited Jewish leaders to his residence in Rome.  There were a number of synagogues in Rome at this time, so there could have been a number of Jews there. 

He explains that he has done, nor desires to do anything against them or the law of Moses.  That the local authorities examined my case and desired to set me free, but because of pressure from Jerusalem he was forced to appeal his case to Caesar.  

His point there is to do more than explain his situation, he wants them to see that, "the hope of Israel that I am wearing this chain."  In other words, that it is his love for his people and desire to see them discover their faith in Jesus.  

The Jews response was probably a little surprising to Paul.  After all the work that the Jewish leaders did to silence him, it would have been correct to assume that they would pursue him all the way to Rome.  But they hadn't received no word from Jerusalem concerning him.  And as far as Christianity was concerned, they had heard about it, they know that many people spoke against it, but they really didn't understand it.  

As far as Paul is concerned, this is a wonderful opportunity to help the church in Rome and to lead his people to accept Jesus into their own lives.  

23 When they had appointed a day for him, they came to him at his lodging in greater numbers. From morning till evening he expounded to them, testifying to the kingdom of God and trying to convince them about Jesus both from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets. 24 And some were convinced by what he said, but others disbelieved. 25 And disagreeing among themselves, they departed after Paul had made one statement: “The Holy Spirit was right in saying to your fathers through Isaiah the prophet:  26  “‘Go to this people, and say, “You will indeed hear but never understand, and you will indeed see but never perceive.” 27  For this people's heart has grown dull, and with their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes they have closed; lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them.’ 28 Therefore let it be known to you that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will listen.” 

At a later date the Jews came, in larger numbers to hear Paul speak.  As usual, there were those who believed and others who didn't.  He taught from morning to evening.  But in the end they couldn't come to a consensus whether or not they should continue.  

That is why Paul quotes Isa. 6:9,10. as a final warning.  Basically what Paul is saying is, "If you don't listen, then the Gentiles will."  That isn't to say that if the Jews would have listened, the Gentiles would have never had a chance.  Simply that, Paul wasn't going to waste time trying to convince them of the truth.  He would have to move on.  

30 He lived there two whole years at his own expense, and welcomed all who came to him, 31 proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance.

While Paul couldn't leave his home, it didn't stop people from coming to listen to him.  We know from Philippians 4:22 that some of Caesar's household accepted Christ into their lives.  We can reasonable assume that the guards to whom Paul was chained to had their own experiences with Christ too.  

This brings our study to an end.  The next two days are set aside to catch up or reflect on what you have read.  I am going to continue to blog the next two days, in reference to the book of Acts, and ask some questions that you can now answer, because you have read the whole book carefully.  

No comments: