In The Word
Read: Acts 28:17-31
17 After three days Paul called together those who were the leading men of the Jews, and when they came together, he began saying to them, “Brethren, 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 And when they had examined me, they were willing to release me because there was no ground for putting me to death. 19 But when the Jews objected, I was forced to appeal to Caesar, not that I had any accusation against my nation. 20 For this reason, therefore, I requested to see you and to speak with you, for I am wearing this chain for the sake of the hope of Israel.” 21 They said to him, “We have neither received letters from Judea concerning you, nor have any of the brethren come here and reported or spoken anything bad about you. 22 But we desire to hear from you what your views are; for concerning this sect, it is known to us that it is spoken against everywhere.”
23 When they had set a day for Paul, they came to him at his lodging in large numbers; and he was explaining to them by solemnly testifying about the kingdom of God and trying to persuade them concerning Jesus, from both the Law of Moses and from the Prophets, from morning until evening. 24 Some were being persuaded by the things spoken, but others would not believe. 25 And when they did not agree with one another, they began leaving after Paul had spoken one parting word, “The Holy Spirit rightly spoke through Isaiah the prophet to your fathers, 26 saying,
‘Go to this people and say,
“You will keep on hearing, but will not understand;
And you will keep on seeing, but will not perceive;
27 For the heart of this people has become dull,
And with their ears they scarcely hear,
And they have closed their eyes;
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
And hear with their ears,
And understand with their heart and return,
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 also listen.” 29 [When he had spoken these words, the Jews departed, having a great dispute among themselves.]
30 And he stayed two full years in his own rented quarters and was welcoming all who came to him, 31 preaching the kingdom of God and teaching concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with all openness, unhindered.
New American Standard Bible (NASB) Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation
Walking In The Word
Paul’s journey had reached its end. Christian tradition suggests that the apostle was beheaded under the reign of Emperor Nero, but this is not where Luke put down his pen. Instead, what we are left with is the description of Paul setting up the headquarters for a world mission. Rome was the center of the known world at the time, all roads lead to Rome. And it was there that we see Paul hard at work evangelizing to the Jews and the Gentiles. We are left with a man who was not concerned with his death, but with his life. How Paul died is not as important as how he lived. Luke wanted the life of Paul to overshadow his death. It was his faithfulness to the end that established the divine model for world missions and evangelism.
It is not important how you die. We will all pass through death. It is only important that you were faithful to the end. How would your story end? If it were Luke penning the details of your life, would your life trump your death? Too many Christians are letting their life pass them by, waiting on death. We are given a better hope. Death is not the determiner of our life. Death has no hold and the grave no sting (1 Corinthians 15:55-57). How will your story end? Will you be described by how you lived or how you died? Now is the time to rise (Ephesians 5:14) and be found faithful to the end.