Paul has arrived in Rome! He’s gained spiritual strength from his solid Christian friends Luke, Aristarchus and the Christians who came out to meet him in Appii-Forum (51 miles from Rome) and those who came out from Three Taverns (about 30 miles from Rome). His heart is strengthened — Christians are in Italy who probably had been converted at Pentecost in Jerusalem (Acts 2:10). Upon arriving at Rome he forgets the struggles of his journey. Christ is at Rome already!
As is Roman custom, Paul remains chained to the guard and he rests for three days, now living by himself, then invites the local Jewish leaders to come to visit him. He normally he would go to them at the synagogues but he is restricted by prisoner chains that connect him to a guard, as is Roman custom. The leaders come to Paul.
In this meeting with Jewish leaders Paul begins by explaining why he is in chains, factually clarifies his innocence, and informs them of his appeal to the emperor. All through this explanation he speaks tenderly about the Jews who have objected. Paul says, “I have no charge to bring against my Nation (Jewish Nation) …. since it is for the sake of the Hope Of Israel I am bound by this chain. (v. 20) Defending, Paul is for Christ.
By God’s own direction these leaders affirm that they have not heard anything bad about Paul, no letters from Judea and no men coming to make a report against Paul, and yet the leaders do honestly say that the sect of The Way (of Jesus the Nazarene) is widely spoken against in Rome.
The leaders want to hear more about what is going on with Paul and listen more to what he has to say, so they set a date to go to Paul’s lodgings. The date comes and the visitors come in great numbers from morning to evening to listen and discuss with Paul! The talk is about the hope of Israel, the Messiah and the resurrection.
Paul testifies to his Damascus road experience, the Kingdom of God, and persuades them concerning Jesus of Nazareth and His Resurrection. Paul lets them know that Jesus has revealed to us that the Kingdom is of a spiritual realm, not an earthly realm. Jesus of Nazareth is the prophesied Messiah. Pauls cites Scripture after Scripture to reveal Jesus’ life fulfillment, gives them His teachings, and joyfully informs them of His Resurrection and post-Resurrection appearances. Paul teaches about Pentecost and the Holy Spirit’s alive Presence. He offers Jesus the Christ. Lord of the Kingdom of God.
Some are convinced by what Paul says, while others refuse to believe (v. 24). As Holy Spirit gives Paul understanding, Paul realizes that the resistors to Truth choose to harden their hearts to the Good News of Christ. Paul quotes Isaiah 6, beginning in verse 9, to the rejectors. And those who believe are hungry to know more. Paul again puts his focus on the Gentiles who are zealous for Christ Resurrected.
Paul stays two years in this lodging in Rome with visitors coming and going, writing his letters to the Churches at Thessalonica, Galicia, Corinth, Philippi, Colossae, and Rome. Paul welcomes all who come to him and teaches boldly and without hindrance about Christ the Lord and the Kingdom Of God
And so concludes Luke’s book The Acts Of The Apostles. Even though Luke could have continued his writing of this book until Paul’s martyrdom, Luke stops here because he wants to get it out into people’s hands to read and join the faith revolution Christ has ushered in to us.
My friend, what a joy it has been for me during this two year span that I have been sitting at my father’s desk writing this commentary on Acts. Spirit is inspirer, encourager, and strengthener. And as Paul completes his two years of house arrest in Rome it has been a total of twenty-five years since the Passion Of Christ. Glory and thanks to our loving Heavenly Father, blessed Jesus Messiah, and dear Spirit.
16 When we came into Rome, Paul was allowed to live by himself, with the soldier who was guarding him.
17 Three days later he called together the local leaders of the Jews. When they had assembled, he said to them, “Brothers, though I had done nothing against our people or the customs of our ancestors, yet I was arrested in Jerusalem and handed over to the Romans. 18 When they had examined me, the Romans wanted to release me, because there was no reason for the death penalty in my case. 19 But when the Jews objected, I was compelled to appeal to the emperor—even though I had no charge to bring against my nation. 20 For this reason therefore I have asked to see you and speak with you, since it is for the sake of the hope of Israel that I am bound with this chain.” 21 They replied, “We have received no letters from Judea about you, and none of the brothers coming here has reported or spoken anything evil about you. 22 But we would like to hear from you what you think, for with regard to this sect we know that everywhere it is spoken against.”
23 After they had set a day to meet with him, they came to him at his lodgings in great numbers. From morning until evening he explained the matter 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. 24 Some were convinced by what he had said, while others refused to believe. 25 So they disagreed with each other; and as they were leaving, Paul made one further statement: “The Holy Spirit was right in saying to your ancestors through the prophet Isaiah,
‘Go to this people and say,
You will indeed listen, but never understand,
and you will indeed look, but never perceive.
For this people’s heart has grown dull,
and their ears are hard of hearing,
and they have shut their eyes;
so that they might not look with their eyes,
and listen with their ears,
and understand with their heart and turn—
and I would heal them.’
28 Let it be known to you then that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will listen.”
30 He lived there two whole years at his own expense and welcomed all who came to him, 31 proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance. Acts 28:16-30