May 07, 2020 – Thursday
Acts 28:17-20 NIV
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.”
When they arrived in Rome three days earlier 16 Paul was allowed to live by himself, with a soldier to guard him and as noted in verse twenty above was still bound with a chain. Those listening to him above had received no reports from Judea concerning any crimes or any report of anything bad about Paul, so they asked to hear his views for they knew 22 … that people everywhere are talking against this sect. Notice people everywhere are not talking about this sect (followers of Jesus as the Christ), but against this sect.
Thus when they set up a meeting for Paul to speak it was clearly not going to be a favorable meeting, but at least Paul would be able to speak freely and openly. When the day arrived Paul 23 … 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. Some were swayed but others were not and they argued among themselves after Paul made his final appeal saying when he quoted Isaiah 6:9,10: 25 … “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.”
27For 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.’
And concluded with 28 “Therefore I want you to know that God’s salvation has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will listen!”
Of course a few weeks later Paul was finally brought before Caesar and found to have committed no crime and released. Right? Wrong! Instead while under guard and chained 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!
To Paul his chains mattered not as he could proclaim the kingdom of God and teach about the Lord Jesus as well as write. It is believed he wrote his epistles to the Ephesians, to the Philippians, and to the Colossians during these two years.
And the book of Acts ends there without telling us what happened. However, it is believed Paul did finally appear before Caesar Nero – as promised by God in Acts 9:15 and 23:11 – and acquitted. It is known he was free again until he was arrested again some five years later. This last time he was condemned and finally executed in Rome in 66 or 67 AD, three years before the destruction of Jerusalem.
Did the story end there? No. Paul’s story and his epistles continue to inform and teach new follower of Jesus to this very day.
Riley D. Driver-Pastor
Calvary Chapel of Dayton