Reading: Acts 28
When they had appointed a day for him, they came to him at his lodging in greater numbers. From morning till evening he expounded 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. And some were convinced by what he said, but others disbelieved. And disagreeing among themselves, they departed after Paul had made one statement: "The Holy Spirit was right in saying to your fathers through Isaiah the prophet: "'Go to this people, and say, You will indeed hear but never understand, and you will indeed see but never perceive. For this people's heart has grown dull, and with their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes they have closed; lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them.' Therefore let it be known to you that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will listen." [And when he had said these words, the Jews departed, having much dispute among themselves.] He lived there two whole years at his own expense, and welcomed all who came to him, proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance. (Acts 28:23-31 ESV)
Reflecting and Thinking
Paul's arrival in Rome is met with none of the Jewish opposition which he may have anticipated. No negative news had been received concerning Paul, but the Jews in Rome were anxious to hear what he had to say. The time was set, and Paul's message was on target-the kingdom of God, Jesus the King. Some could not overcome their "Jewish understandings," an obstacle which Paul reflects in quoting Isaiah. The gospel will go the Gentiles. For two years, he kept proclaiming the kingdom and Jesus Christ. The book of Acts ends with a telling word or phrase: the gospel is continuing to go forth without hindrance. Many forces may seek to hinder or stop the gospel message, but it spreads anyway. Such words encourage us, for they are still true today. The preaching of the kingdom and Jesus Christ is no by human power, but by God's power. The power of the gospel is unchanged. May we be bold; may the gospel go forth in the corners of the world where we have influence "without hindrance."
The Greek word may be translated "unhinderedly." What does it mean to you that the gospel goes forth without hindrance? What part does Paul's boldness play in this summary? What part of it is the power of God's message? What happens if we get the message wrong? What happens if our message gets "off target"? Should we decide who to tell and who not to tell based on whether we think they will accept? Will you include in your personal prayers a prayer for the continued spread of the gospel into all the world?
Dearest heavenly Father, we pray for the spread of the gospel. We never want to stand in the way. We seek your power to proclaim boldly. We ask understanding that we might proclaim accurately the message that is life-changing. May it continue to change our lives. May it change the lives of others. In the name of Jesus we pray, Amen.