Friday, December 29, 2023
[Paul met with Jewish leaders in Rome. He explained why he was under arrest: He had brought an offering to Jewish Christians in Jerusalem from Gentile churches. While he was in the Temple, a riot ensued because a rumor started that he brought Gentiles into the Temple. Roman soldiers had to rescue him, which led to various trials and eventually to his journey to Rome. After his explanation, the Jewish leaders 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.
One of the essential things Jesus did with his disciples occurred after his resurrection: "Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures" (Luke 24:45). This involved opening their minds to understand that his life and ministry fulfilled Moses' law, the prophets, and the Psalms (Luke 24:44-49). While people's expectations of the Messiah at the time Jesus came was for him to be a mighty warrior and great military deliverer, they had actually missed much of what God had said through the inspired Scriptures (what we call the Old Testament) about the Messiah (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
Paul longed for his fellow Jews to come to Christ (Romans 9:1-5), so soon after arriving in Rome, he spent the whole day sharing from these Scriptures with skeptical Jewish leaders who had heard bad things about Jesus and Christianity. Paul longed for his fellow Jews to come to Christ (Romans 9:1-5). Paul's training under one of the most respected rabbis of his time was helpful for him in these kinds of situations.* With the inspiration of the Spirit, his understanding of the Scriptures, and his rabbinical training, Paul was God's perfect spokesperson to Jews about Jesus in a city that had already had a terrible conflict between Jews and Christians.** Even then, not all of these religious leaders were persuaded to believe the truth about Jesus. Still, we can rejoice in this: "Some were persuaded by the things he said..." This was Paul's goal — that he might save some (1 Corinthians 9:22-23).
* Paul refers to his Jewish background and training several times in his ministry. See the first set of Related Scripture Readings for examples.
** History tells us that in A.D. 49 the disagreement that Jews had concerning a person identified as "Chrestus" (a Latinization of "Christ" based on misunderstanding) was so intense they were driven from Rome. See the second set of Related Scripture Readings for an example of how this impacted Priscilla and Acquilla.
Father, there are people I passionately want to see come to Jesus. I need the Holy Spirit's help to know how best to share Jesus with them.
Unstoppable! is a one-year devotional guide through the book of Acts. Each devotional consists of a scripture passage, a reflection and a prayer. The reflection opens up the day's scripture and shows how it challenges one to live for Jesus.
Unstoppable! is written by Phil Ware.
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
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