Acts 28:17-31 (JDV)
Acts 28:17 After three days he called together the leaders of the Jews. When they had gathered he said to them: “Brothers, although I have done nothing against our people or the customs of our ancestors, I was delivered as a prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans.
Acts 28:18 After they examined me, they wanted to let me go, since there was no reason for the death penalty in my case.
Acts 28:19 Because the Jews objected, I was forced to appeal to Caesar; even though I had no charge to bring against my people.
Acts 28:20 For this reason I’ve asked to see you and speak to you. In fact, it is for the hope of Israel that I’m wearing this chain.”
Acts 28:21 Then they said to him, “We haven’t received any letters about you from Judea. None of the brothers has come and reported or spoken anything evil about you.
Acts 28:22 But we want to hear what your views are, since we know that people everywhere are speaking against this party.”
Acts 28:23 After arranging a day with him, many came to him at his lodging. From dawn to dusk he expounded and testified about the kingdom of God. He tried to persuade them about Jesus from both the Law of Moses and the Prophets.
Acts 28:24 Some were persuaded by what he said, but others did not believe.
Acts 28:25 Disagreeing among themselves, they began to go away after Paul made one statement: “The Sacred Breath was right in saying to your ancestors through the prophet Isaiah
Acts 28:26 when he said, Go to these people and say: You will always be listening, but never understanding; and you will always be looking, but never perceiving.
Acts 28:27 You see, the hearts of these people have grown callous, their ears are hard of hearing, and they have shut their eyes; otherwise they might see with their eyes and hear with their ears, understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them.
Acts 28:28 Therefore, let it be known to you that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will listen.”
Acts 28:30 Paul stayed two whole years in his own rented house. And he welcomed all who visited him,
Acts 28:31 proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance.
The Acts seems to start out with a bang, and end with a whimper. All the miracles seem to have been spent, and nothing seems to be resolved. Paul is still in prison, unrescued. The Jews as a people remain unconvinced that their Messiah has come. The Romans are still in charge. Why this ending?
History reveals that not much of Paul’s story is left to tell. He was probably released for a while at some point, but was later arrested again, and executed by Rome. Acts does not record any of this. We don’t know exactly why. I think Luke wanted his story to end here, because he wanted Paul’s words in verse 28 to be his epilogue.
“Therefore, let it be known to you that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will listen.”
Paul did not prevail, but he accomplished his mission. There are believers all over the world today because some brave missionaries had the courage to obey the Great Commission of Christ, and proclaim the gospel of God’s grace to the nations. Acts was their story.
Lord, thank you for the courage of cross-cultural missionaries.