Day 48 & 49 Persistent and Persuasive
Acts 28.23-31 (Paul is in Rome teaching and preaching)
After they had set a day to meet with Paul, 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,
26 ‘Go to this people and say,
You will indeed listen, but never understand,
and you will indeed look, but never perceive.
27 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.
I want to take this time to thank everyone for participating in this study. It turns out that the 50 Days was supposed to start exactly on Easter Sunday and end on Pentecost Sunday. My travel schedule has interrupted us, so we are ending a little bit late. Sorry. I would appreciated any suggestions or feedback you might have as to how I could make the study better. My goal is to attempt to publish this after doing some editing. I will write one more summary prayer when we get back from Seattle on Wednesday.
I end with the final chapter from Acts that has Paul in Rome preaching to anyone who will listen. I think it has relevance to what we are facing as a church in our pluralistic culture today. Willimon says: “You and I live in the continuation of the story of Acts. Acts must close in an open-ended fashion, with the door still open for work and witness rather than closed by death, because the Spirit is still active.” (Willimon, Acts, 192.) Paul’s is killed in the end, much like Christ he is rejected by many—however, we can remember the words of Gamaliel, a member of the high court who sought to silence the followers of Paul, when he said: “keep away from these men and let them alone; for if this plan or this undertaking is of men, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them” (5:38–39). 2017 years later we can see this is not a movement of humanity—it is still going strong. Will we have the fortitude to accept the word of God into our hearts—staying open to hearing anew what the ancient truths mean to us in the twenty-first century, or will will be seduced by the idols of the culture whose vision is temporary and at best only a few generations deep and susceptible to every fad that eventually fades?
Recap Prayer: Dear Jesus, We want to follow Your way, not so we can be seen as better than anyone else, but so we can reflect Your inclusive and eternal love into the world. Help us to show that Your way prepares us for life on earth that is a foretaste of our eternal existence. Help us to live with Your Gospel in our hearts. Amen.