Acts 28:17-31

Acts 28:17-31 … This reading completes the book of Acts. It’s amazing that Paul was held under house arrest for two years (60-62 A.D.) before his appeal to Caesar was heard. During that time, he couldn’t go to the synagogue, and so Jews (and others) came to him and Paul had a vigorous ministry proclaiming the Gospel of  Christ. It’s also amazing that Jews came with skepticism (v.22 refers to skepticism about Christianity) and Paul told them that Christ had come, fulfilling the prophecies of Scripture. The record shows that some believed, and some did not, just as we would observe today. Paul defended his teaching with a quotation from Isaiah 6:9-10, indicating God’s prophecy that some would not believe because of their closed minds.

Even though Paul was under house arrest and apparently chained to a soldier, it was, as is typical of Paul, a very productive time. During his house arrest, in addition to his ministry to the many groups who came to see him, Paul wrote letters to the Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians and also the little letter to Philemon, all of which we come to later in the New Testament.

It’s also interesting that the book of Acts, which is uniquely the “history book” of the New Testament, doesn’t end conclusively. Many feel that the reason for that is that the history of the Church of Jesus Christ is not completed. The history continues to be written by those who are following Christ in every succeeding generation. In fact, several contemporary organizations have come into being calling themselves “Acts 29,” to work toward enriching churches and enabling them to be faithful to the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20).

What became of Paul? The book of Acts ends without revealing results of his appeal. Church tradition holds that Paul won his appeal before Nero and continued his ministry, perhaps even going to Spain (an objective expressed in Romans 15:24- 28). Subsequently, he was apparently arrested again and taken to Rome about 66 or 67 A.D. in a much harsher imprisonment, where he wrote Second Timothy, which many consider to be his last will and testament, and where he recorded these words: “For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” (2 Timothy 4:6-8) According to church history, Paul was caught up in the persecution of Christians by Nero and was executed along with many others in late 67 or early 68 A.D.

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