Paul in Rome
When we arrived in Rome, Paul was permitted to have his own private lodging, though he was guarded by a soldier.
Three days after Paul’s arrival, he called together the local Jewish leaders. He said to them, “Brothers, I was arrested in Jerusalem and handed over to the Roman government, even though I had done nothing against our people or the customs of our ancestors.
The Romans tried me and wanted to release me, because they found no cause for the death sentence.
But when the Jewish leaders protested the decision, I felt it necessary to appeal to Caesar, even though I had no desire to press charges against my own people.
I asked you to come here today so we could get acquainted and so I could explain to you that I am bound with this chain because I believe that the hope of Israel—the Messiah—has already come.”
They replied, “We have had no letters from Judea or reports against you from anyone who has come here.
But we want to hear what you believe, for the only thing we know about this movement is that it is denounced everywhere.”
So a time was set, and on that day a large number of people came to Paul’s lodging. He explained and testified about the Kingdom of God and tried to persuade them about Jesus from the Scriptures. Using the law of Moses and the books of the prophets, he spoke to them from morning until evening.
Some were persuaded by the things he said, but others did not believe.
And after they had argued back and forth among themselves, they left with this final word from Paul: “The Holy Spirit was right when he said to your ancestors through Isaiah the prophet,
‘Go and say to this people: When you hear what I say, you will not understand. When you see what I do, you will not comprehend.
For the hearts of these people are hardened, and their ears cannot hear, and they have closed their eyes—so their eyes cannot see, and their ears cannot hear, and their hearts cannot understand, and they cannot turn to me and let me heal them.’
So I want you to know that this salvation from God has also been offered to the Gentiles, and they will accept it.”
For the next two years, Paul lived in Rome at his own expense. He welcomed all who visited him,
boldly proclaiming the Kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ. And no one tried to stop him. (Acts 28:16-31)
The questions I have received from you all:
Why if Paul was a prisoner did he have such freedom?
Who made the decision that Paul could stay by himself with a guard?
How many men would have guarded him? Four like at other times?
You said the use of “we” stops Ian, does that mean that Luke has now left Paul on his own?
Why is Paul meeting with the Jews again after having so much trouble with them?
He is an apostle to the Gentiles, why doesn’t he go to the Gentiles?
How many Jewish leaders were there Ian?
How can Paul have done anything wrong to the leaders in Rome when he has only just met them?
How can these Jews have already heard about Christianity?
What sort of place could Paul have been living in for so many Jewish leaders to come to where he was living?
It all seems too good to be true. How could Paul have all these visitors if he was a prisoner with a guard? Was he free to just roam around the city as he pleased with his guard?
Would he have been chained to the guard like other times? Verse 20 suggests that he was chained. How did that work if the guard was with him 24/7?
Why do these Jews have exactly the same reaction as all the other Jews? It is like it is a national trait.
Were the words Luke finished quoted as Paul said to the Jews in Rome or were they a general summary of all the Jewish responses?
How does Luke know what was said if he didn't stay with Paul? It doesn't mention Luke in the final verses.
How could Paul live for two years at his own expense?
How could a prisoner get money if he was under guard?
What would he do to get money anyway?
Why doesn't Luke give us a summary of what happened to Paul after that?
Why does the story just stop where it does?
It seems like it doesn’t have an end. Like it is an anti-climax. What is going on Ian?
Ok those are the questions I have received so far. If the question in your mind has not been asked I won’t address it unless you tell me. I will give you until Friday to think about your questions before we begin this final section.
I would add another question of my own. It is not so much a question of the content but a question of omission. Isn’t there something staring us in the face that begs to be asked? Something glaringly obvious that should be there but is not? I will ask it in full in Friday’s Gemz.
Nothing worth having comes without sweat.
Never let disappointment be louder than your worship.
If the only people you think are brilliant are those you agree with, you still have a lot to learn.
There's something wrong if you're always right.
“Lord I thank you . . .
that I haven’t got angry with anyone today
that I haven’t lost my temper
that I haven’t lied
that I haven’t thought bad thoughts about anyone
that I haven’t wronged anyone in any way.
Lord I am about to get up now and I am really going to need your help!”