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Paul’s Opportunity to Preach in Rome

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Many years ago an energetic young man began as a clerk in a hardware store. The store’s inventory included thousands of dollars’ worth of items that were obsolete or seldom called for by customers.  The young man was smart enough to know that no thriving business … More

Opportunity
Paul had a burning desire to preach the gospel in Rome, and he eventually got there; in chains, through shipwreck, and after many trials. Although he may have wished for an easier passage he knew that God had blessed him greatly and had given his the opportunity to be there and preach the gospel to both Jew and Gentiles in that great city. It didn’t take Paul long to begin his ministry (v. 17). As had been his custom in city after city, he began witnessing to the Jews first and then the Gentiles. Perhaps he also thought it wise to explain the entire situation to the Jews in Rome, giving his side of the story before his accusers came to them (vv. 18-20). Paul was very careful about what he said, as he did not want to antagonize his listeners by accusing his accusers.

The Jewish leaders were most cordial and insisted that they had heard nothing about Paul’s case, but admitted that Christianity was considered a heresy (vv. 21-22). It appears that he won their hearing more by what he left unsaid, than by what he said. The fact that these Jews had not received any word from the Jews in Palestine concerning Paul’s case seems to indicate that his persecutors had decided not to pursue the case further. Probably it was because they realized that Caesar would pronounce Paul not guilty. By not showing up in Rome to press charges, they would simply let the case go by default.  Roman law would keep Paul out of circulation for many months, and the Jews would not risk allowing Christianity to be judged as a legitimate religion.

Application

God worked for Paul’s good (Rom. 8:28) and I can trust Him to do the same for me. He may not make the path smooth, but He will provide the opportunity to do His work.

Acts 28:17-22 (English Standard Version)

After three days he called together the local leaders of the Jews, and when they had gathered, he said to them, "Brothers, though I had done nothing against our people or the customs of our fathers, yet I was delivered as a prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans. When they had examined me, they wished to set me at liberty, because there was no reason for the death penalty in my case. But because the Jews objected, I was compelled to appeal to Caesar--though I had no charge to bring against my nation. For this reason, therefore, I have asked to see you and speak with you, since it is because of the hope of Israel that I am wearing this chain." And they said to him, "We have received no letters from Judea about you, and none of the brothers coming here has reported or spoken any evil about you. But we desire to hear from you what your views are, for with regard to this sect we know that everywhere it is spoken against."

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