Acts 28:17-31 (web)

Paul's Witness in Rome

28:17 It happened that after three days Paul called together
those who were the leaders of the Jews. When they had come together, he said to them, 
"I, brothers, though I had done nothing against the people, or the customs of our fathers,
still was delivered prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans, 
28:18 who, when they had examined me, desired to set me free, 
because there was no cause of death in me. 
28:19 But when the Jews spoke against it, I was constrained to appeal to Caesar, 
not that I had anything about which to accuse my nation. 
28:20 For this cause therefore I asked to see you and to speak with you. 
For because of the hope of Israel I am bound with this chain." 
28:21 They said to him, "We neither received letters from Judea concerning you, 
nor did any of the brothers come here and report or speak any evil of you. 
28:22 But we desire to hear from you what you think.
For, as concerning this sect, it is known to us that everywhere it is spoken against." 

28:23 When they had appointed him a day, many people came to him at his lodging. 
He explained to them, testifying about the Kingdom of God, 
and persuading them concerning Jesus, 
both from the law of Moses and from the prophets, from morning until evening. 
28:24 Some believed the things which were spoken, and some disbelieved. 
28:25 When they didn't agree among themselves,
they departed after Paul had spoken one word,
"The Holy Spirit spoke rightly through Isaiah, the prophet, to our fathers, 
28:26 saying,

'Go to this people, and say, In hearing, you will hear, But will in no way understand. In seeing, you will see, But will in no way perceive. 
28:27 For this people's heart has grown callous. Their ears are dull of hearing. Their eyes they have closed. Lest they should see with their eyes, Hear with their ears, Understand with their heart, And would turn again, And I would heal them.' (Isaiah 6:9,10)
28:28 "Be it known therefore to you, 
that the salvation of God is sent to the Gentiles. They will also listen." 
28:29 When he had said these words, the Jews departed, 
having a great dispute among themselves. 

28:30 Paul stayed two whole years in his own rented house,
and received all who were coming to him, 
28:31 preaching the Kingdom of God,
and teaching the things concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness,
without hinderance.  
 

Comments

vs 17-22 As was Paul's habit given the opportunity upon entering a city he tends to preach first to the Jews then to the Gentiles. It was not his job to call upon his alleged accusers, it was the court's job. But Paul wanted to settle this out of court so as to use the opportunity to witness to his Jewish brethren. For the courtroom would be too hostile an environment for such discussion. We notice that he makes the point that he didn't come to make accusation against the Jews but simply to clear up this misunderstanding. And as we can see also the gospel had already reached Rome in a limited sense as the Jews had word of it, but it is apparent they were not fully acquainted with it. It is not too surprising that Paul's accusers hadn't followed him to Rome. After all Rome was Gentile territory and far away from Israel. Furthermore Paul had been imprisoned years after the incident on the temple grounds so the zeal against him may have died down by now. Romans occupied Israel had greater troubles as political tensions grew. As such even if they had come to Rome I think they would have realized based upon their lack of evidence and their political disfavor especially in Rome that they would most certainly lose the case.

vs 23-29 It is encouraging that some of the Jews believed as was not uncommon when Paul preached to the Jews. However thoughout the Bible the general attitude of Israel as a whole has been one of unbelief, of which Isaiah also alludes to. Their callous hearts and minds were an effect of their religously elite and yet sinful mindset. The early chapters of Romans elaborate on such an effect. They could not hear because they held on to false presumptions. Many today have blinded themselves to the truth because they pridefully hold on to their own ideas as to how things work. Once again humility goes hand in hand with the search for truth. Though it is true as Jesus said, "salvation is from the Jews" John 4:22, yet the Jews in their racist and religous elitist attitude would prevent Gentiles from being saved, just as Jesus said, "You shut the kingdom of heaven in men's faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to." Matt 23:13 But through Jewish believers like Paul God has now brought salvation to the Gentiles. 

vs 30-31 As his accusers never showed up neither could a trial be held. But it appears Paul had a great deal of freedom being only under house arrest. He even rented his own house and was not forbidden to go on preaching a teaching. The word "confidence" here is "parrhesia" which means "freedom in speaking, unreservedness in speech, frankness". Professional preachers are often bound by church politics and as a result often simply tell people what they want to hear and avoid truths that while edifying may offend the proud, but not so with Paul. Christians should speak the gospel frankly and unconcerned of the repercussions against them, just as Paul. 
 




The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources Jul 29,2015