In the spring of A.D. 61, when he arrived at Rome, though chained to a guard Paul was allowed to choose his own dwelling place to await his hearing before Caesar. His journey from Jerusalem had taken several months after the Alexandrian gain ship he sailed on was caught up in a tempest for several weeks, then was shipwrecked on the island of Malta where the apostle spent the winter, ministering to the lost and sharing the gospel pf the risen Christ.
“17 And it came to pass after three days that Paul called the leaders of the Jews together. So when they had come together, he said to them: “Men and brethren, though I have 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 who, when they had examined me, wanted to let me go, because there was no cause for putting me to death.” (Acts 28:17-18)
Before he endeavored to further his preaching, Paul spent three days among the brethren, sharing how the grace of God had been spread throughout the land during his many journeys. On the third day, he summoned the rulers of the synagogues, the scribes, and the heads of the leading families to his home where he addressed them concerning the charges against him, brought forward by the Jews in Jerusalem. The apostle also reveals how the Roman authorities in Jerusalem found him not guilty of any crime, and had he not requested a hearing before Caesar, would have been set free.
“19 But when the Jews spoke against it, I was compelled to appeal to Caesar, not that I had anything of which to accuse my nation. 20 For this reason therefore I have called for you, to see you and speak with you, because for the hope of Israel I am bound with this chain.” (Acts 28: 19-20)
When the Jews in Jerusalem and at Caesarea found out Paul was about to be set free, they plotted to kill him. Because of this, Paul requested a hearing before Caesar in Rome which was his right as a Roman citizen.
Once in Rome, he felt necessary to meet with Jewish leaders whom he refers to as “brothers” and mentioned he was not a prisoner because of anything contrary to Jewish scripture, rather he was in chains for the hope of the Jewish nation, in chains for Christ.
“21 Then they said to him, “We neither received letters from Judea concerning you, nor have any of the brethren who came reported or spoken any evil of you. 22 But we desire to hear from you what you think; for concerning this sect, we know that it is spoken against everywhere.” (Acts 28:21-22)
The Jewish leaders then revealed they had received no official communication from Paul’s accusers in Judea, nor had anyone from that region come forward to smear the apostle. The Jews also shared their desire to hear Paul’s account of the Christian gospel, and find out more about the sect he represented which was the object of much controversy among both Jews and Gentiles.
“23 So when they had appointed him a day, many came to him at his lodging, to whom he explained and solemnly testified of the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus from both the Law of Moses and the Prophets, from morning till evening. 24 And some were persuaded by the things which were spoken, and some disbelieved.” (Acts 28:23-24)
So they could get the most from their time with Paul, the Jewish leaders appointed a day when he would be invited to speak during which the apostle shared his testimony about his own divinely appointed transformation, from a persecutor of Christians to a servant of Jesus, the Savior who’s coming was foretold by the patriarch Moses as well as the Jewish prophets who spoke of the promised Messiah.
While some of Paul’s testimony was received by some, others chose to ignored the truth and continue dwelling in darkness.
“25 So when they did not agree among themselves, they departed after Paul had said one word: “The Holy Spirit spoke rightly through Isaiah the prophet to our fathers, 26 saying, ‘Go to this people and say: “Hearing you will hear, and shall not understand; And seeing you will see, and not perceive; 27 For the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, And their eyes they have closed, Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, So that I should heal them. 28 Therefore let it be known to you that the salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will hear it! 29 And when he had said these words, the Jews departed and had a great dispute among themselves. ” (Acts 28:25-29)
To those who denied the gospel preached by Paul, he warned them using scripture, quoting the prophet Isaiah who warned of stubbornness among the dull hearted skeptics. The apostle’s intent was to leverage scripture to enlighten unbelievers, and lead them back to the light where, by faith in Christ, and by the grace of God, all those who believe inherit the gift of eternal life.
“30 Then Paul dwelt two whole years in his own rented house, and received all who came to him, 31 preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence, no one forbidding him.” (Acts 28:29-31)
Then, as he awaited his hearing before Caesar, Paul lived in Rome for two years during which he was financially supported by the fellowship, which provided him with countless opportunities to preach the gospel and further the kingdom of God.
While at Rome, Paul was visited by many brethren including Luke, Timothy, Epaphros, Mark, Aristarchus and Tychius. The apostle also used this time to write many letters of which Ephesians, Colossians, Philippians, his short epistle to Philemon would be canonized, and become an inherit part of the word of God. Let’s pray!
We thank you for your blessings in our lives and for your servant Luke,
We praise you Lord for his wisdom and for his works through this scripture,
We ask you Lord to inspire us to use these verses in our lives
As we grow in you through the teachings of your faithful apostle.
Lord we ask you to strengthen us each day as we endure through battles,
Allow us to praise and love each other through faith in you Jesus,
Shield us from evil through truth, the gospel, salvation and prayer,
Guide us to abide by your word as we spread your gospel to one and all
Becoming examples of faith through our character as we walk the narrow path.
God we pray that you will continue to bless us, to bless our lives and fill us with hope
We ask you Lord to guide our footsteps and lead us to the way everlasting,
Through faith in you Lord we seek salvation and a place with you in heaven
According to your word, your everlasting wisdom and strength.
May your will be done
In our lives, for your life.
We thank you for your love and all you bless us with each day.
This message was written by Daniel St.Pierre