June 22nd (Paul in Rome) Paul arrives in Rome
16: And when we came to Rome, the centurion delivered the prisoners to the captain of the guard: but Paul was suffered to dwell by himself with a soldier that kept him. 17: And it came to pass, that after three days Paul called the chief of the Jews together: and when they were come together, he said unto them, Men and brethren, though I have committed nothing against the people, or customs of our fathers, yet was I delivered prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans. 18: Who, when they had examined me, would have let me go, because there was no cause of death in me. 19: But when the Jews spake against it, I was constrained to appeal unto Caesar; not that I had ought to accuse my nation of. 20: For this cause therefore have I called for you, to see you, and to speak with you: because that for the hope of Israel I am bound with this chain. 21: And they said unto him, We neither received letters out of Judaea concerning thee, neither any of the brethren that came shewed or spake any harm of thee. 22: But we desire to hear of thee what thou thinkest: for as concerning this sect, we know that every where it is spoken against. 23: And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into his lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening. 24: And some believed the things which were spoken, and some believed not. 25: And when they agreed not among themselves, they departed, after that Paul had spoken one word, Well spake the Holy Ghost by Esaias the prophet unto our fathers, 26: Saying, Go unto this people, and say, Hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive: 27: For the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. 28: Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it. 29: And when he had said these words, the Jews departed, and had great reasoning among themselves.
Paul preaching unhindered
30: And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him, 31: Preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man forbidding him.
Luke brings his record of the Acts of the Apostles to an end by describing Paul’s adventures in Rome. When they arrived in Rome all the prisoners were handed over to the Roman guard but Paul was allowed to live in a house by himself with a soldier to keep watch over him. He was under house arrest. After three days Paul gathered the chief Jews together to speak to them. You will notice that Pauls practise from the beginning had been to the Jews first and then to the Gentiles. Paul as an apostle to the Jews calls them together to hear the good news of the Messiah. He explains the reason for his arrest. He says l have done nothing wrong, nor have l broken any of the customs of the Fathers yet despite this l was handed over to the Romans to be executed. But when the Romans looked into my case they wanted to release me, because l had done nothing worthy of death. When the Jews spoke against me l was compelled to appeal to Caesar. This is why l have called for you to speak to you. l am here in chains because of the hope of Israel. The Jews said that they had not heard anything about the case and we want to hear from you and what you believe, We have heard things about this group and we know that it is opposed everywhere. So they set a day when Paul could be heard and the Jews came to his lodging to hear him speak. Paul preached concerning the whole rule of God and persuaded them about Jesus of Nazareth. He preached Christ from the Law and the prophets from first thing in the morning to evening time. Some of the Jews believed the Gospel and some refused to believe it. The Jews were divided as to what Paul said. Luke comments that Isaiah prophesied well when he said Go unto this people, and say, Hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive: For the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. So Paul formally broke off from the Jews because of their official rejection of his message. He said, I want you to know that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it. After Paul had spoken these words the Jews left him and they had a great discussion among themselves. Paul lived for two years in his own private apartment and he had freedom to receive all visitors. He continued to preach the kingdom of God and teaching everything about the Lord Jesus Christ, with total confidence, and no body was able to stopping him in this work. And so this ends Luke’s Record. Luke has recorded the ministry of the Apostles. Firstly Peters ministry mainly in Jerusalem and Judea and Then Pauls ministry in Northern Palestine, Turkey, Macedonia, Greece and now Rome. In every place the ministry of the Apostles has been quite unique in that the Gospel of the Kingdom has gone out to the Jews of the whole Roman world. Nearly every Synagogue of the Jews has been touched by their preaching and most of the time it has been rejected by them. But there is another story the unfolding of the Gospel to the Gentiles. Starting from chapter 10 with the conversion of Cornelius who was a Jewish Proselyte the Gospel has gone out first to the Gentiles who are living as circumcised God fearing Proselytes and then to the Gentiles who have no link to Judaism the message of Christ has made large inroads into the masses of the Roman Empire. There have been many crisis’, such as the Question of whether Gentiles are to be forced to take up Judaism in order to be saved or whether christians can be legitimately persecuted and executed as enemies of the Jewish religion. And the Gospel has triumphed over all. Even at the last chapter the Word of the Lord is still going out unhindered.