Summary: Although Paul was bound under house arrest, the Gospel wasn't. God used Paul's situation in Rome to reach out to the Jewish leaders, the guards, and the believers in Rome and other places through his writings over the two years. God's work cannot be bound.
LET US PRAY:
May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. (Ps 19:14)
Bless everyone that has come today, this we pray in Jesus’ Name, AMEN.
We have finally come to the end of the book of Acts.
• We started this series on 29 March 2020, so this is the 58th sermon in the series. It took us slightly more than a year to cover the book.
Paul has finally arrived in Rome. This was a significant step for Luke, the author.
• He started the book by telling us of Christ’s commission. Acts 1:8 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
• Rome would represent the “the end of the earth” then, the place with a population of Jews furthest from Jerusalem.
• Luke showed that the Gospel has travelled from Jerusalem to Rome, and from the Jews to the Gentiles.
This is God’s plan. In Acts 28 we read the fulfilment of the BEGINNING, the first lap of the movement of the Gospel, from Jerusalem to Rome.
• It will continue beyond Rome and to the rest of the world. Luke penned down the significant first lap.
• “And so we came to Rome,” Luke said in 28:14b. And again verse 16 “And when we came into Rome…”
• “…Paul was allowed to stay by himself, with the soldier who guarded him.”
17After 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. 18When they had examined me, they wished to set me at liberty, because there was no reason for the death penalty in my case. 19But because the Jews objected, I was compelled to appeal to Caesar—though I had no charge to bring against my nation. 20For 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.”
Paul’s ministry continues even though he was under house arrest. As was his practice, he always starts with the synagogue, meeting with the Jewish leaders.
• But now he does not have the freedom to go to them; they have to come to him.
• Paul invited them and explained what has happened in Jerusalem and the reason for his arrest. He was innocent of any crime against the Law or the Jewish people.
• This was necessary to put aside any misunderstanding and wrong assumptions of any wrongdoing on his part.
• The Romans had found him to be innocent and were willing to release him. Paul has appealed to Caesar because of the antagonistic Jews.
The true reason for his being chained was for the “hope of Israel”; that is, for the preaching of the Messiah, the hope that Israel has been longing for.
• Paul was attacked for his faith in Israel’s Messiah, Jesus Christ, who has been prophesied in the Scripture and has come, died and rose again for their salvation.
21And 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. 22But we desire to hear from you what your views are, for with regard to this sect we know that everywhere it is spoken against.”
They have not heard anything from the Jews in Jerusalem or Caesarea.
• We do not know why the Jews in Judea did not pursue the matter. We do know, however, that there wasn’t a strong case against Paul in the first place.
• The only thing these Jewish leaders heard about was that Christianity has been unpopular in many places, and they wanted to hear from Paul.
23When 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.
This is so typical of Paul when he visits a new place. He meets with the local Jews in the synagogue and explains the Scriptures.
• He could not go to the synagogue; he brings the “synagogues” to his house.
• And spent the whole day, expounding, testifying and convincing them, through the Scripture (Law of Moses and the Prophets), that Jesus Christ is the foretold Messiah.