Year 2 Day 152
Read - Acts 28v17-31
Message - Scott Woodburn
It may seem to you that Acts ends quite abruptly. We have journeyed with Paul to Rome where we expect to see him standing before Nero but while such an event certainly took place, we have no record of it here in Acts. Instead Paul is visited by the local Jewish leaders (v17) who haven’t heard any negative report about him (v21) but are keen to hear what he has to say (v22).
Paul kindly obliges them and they spend a whole day together, with the Apostle preaching Christ from the books of Moses and the prophets (v23). We can look back and rejoice at this meeting because some were convinced by Paul’s testimony (v24) yet tragically others were not so sure (v24b).
As the meeting ends Paul speaks a word of judgement against those who refuse to acknowledge Christ. He quotes Isaiah 6v9-10 against those who hear about Christ but will never accept Him. If such individuals would turn to the Lord He would certainly save them, but their hearts are dull, their ears are deaf and their eyes are closed.
Paul declares to the doubters that the Gospel of salvation has now been sent to the Gentile world and a great multitude of them are listening (v28). Luke then tells us that Paul would spend the next two years welcoming anyone who came to him and proclaiming the Gospel with boldness and without hindrance.
I love history and would certainly have appreciated an account of Paul’s meeting with Caesar. Yet what we have in these final verses highlight the future for the church of Christ. Since Paul’s time in Rome until this very day the Gospel has marched forward. Paul could only have dreamed of the lands that the Gospel would finally reach. He travelled the length and breadth of the known world and years later the Gospel would go even further. Today there are Christians throughout the Americas. Today the Gospel rings from north to south Africa. Asians have heard and believed the Gospel and to this very day an ever growing number of ethnic Jews have and are turning to Christ.
So the final verses of Luke’s second book do not give us an account of Nero who was in Paul’s day the most powerful man alive. Instead they show us the work of the church until Christ comes. Brothers and sisters we continue to preach Christ from all of the Scriptures. The Gospel does not begin in Matthew, instead we see it birthed in Genesis. It is the ancient story of good news for all who will believe and it centres around and is focused upon Jesus Christ our Lord.
So we preach Christ in the face of opposition and we rejoice when many receive the Gospel. We pass the truth of Christ to the next generation and to the one after that. We stand firm in the midst of this harlot world and we refuse to bend to Babylon. Rome did not stop the Gospel and it will not end due to Covid, global warming or the powers of this evil age. Acts does not record the birth of the church, rather in Acts we see the Gospel smashing through borders and boundaries and a gathering of one people from every tribe and tongue. Our time in Acts has come to an end but Christ the King continues! He offers salvation for all who will believe and we realise once more that Paul’s day was just like our day - the Gospel cannot be stopped!
Q40 What did God at first reveal to man for the rule of his obedience? The rule which God at first revealed to man for his obedience, was the moral law.