February 04, 2021 – Thursday
Acts 28:23-24 NIV
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.
Here we are in the last chapter of Acts where we find Paul finally in Rome. He was waiting for his hearing before Caesar, living by himself with a soldier assigned to guard him. Of course, Paul being Paul called the local Jewish leaders together and explained what he was doing in Rome under arrest, concluding with (v20b), It is because of the hope of Israel that I am bound with this chain. The hope of Israel obviously being Jesus the Messiah.
Strangely, after all the prior negative meetings with Jewish leaders, these leaders said (v21-22), 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. But we want to hear what your views are, for we know that people everywhere are talking against this sect. The sect they mentioned consisted of Jewish (and Gentile) followers of the Way or Christians.
Now we come to our verses for today on that certain day, they came in even larger numbers to the place he was staying. And we know exactly what Paul did, 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. Of course he tried to persuade them and he had a certain success as Some were convinced by what he said, but others would not believe. As it was true then, it is true today, no matter the quality or the amount of the teaching there will always be those who do not (will not) believe. However easy it is to focus on those who do not believe after hearing the good news of Jesus, we should rejoice at those who gladly persuaded of the truth Paul presented and adopted the faith of Christianity.
Nonetheless, Paul wanted everyone to believe so in a last attempt to convince all those present to believe he brought up Isaiah and the Holy Spirit when he said (v25-28), The Holy Spirit spoke the truth to your ancestors when he said through Isaiah the prophet: “‘Go to this people and say, “You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.” 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.’ “Therefore I want you to know that God’s salvation has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will listen!” At the end, They disagreed among themselves and began to leave after Paul had made this final statement.
While Paul took the Good News to the Gentiles, he never gave up on convincing fellow Jews, no matter where they lived, as he dearly wished them to be saved as well. We can take a lesson from Paul on this and never give up on loved ones who initially and continually reject Christ. Some will eventually be convinced and come to the faith, believing Jesus to have paid the price for their sin. Let Paul’s example nearly 2,000 years ago be our example still today.
Prayer: Heavenly Father – Your word is so inspiring. Let the lessons therein teach us not to give up on those far from us as well as those close to us. You did not give up on us for While we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8b). – In Jesus name. Amen.