Unstoppable! 'Paul Recognizes the Truth of Scripture' — Acts 28:25-27

Friday, December 30, 2022

[Paul had spoken to the Jewish leaders in Rome all day. He had reasoned with them from the Scriptures that Jesus was both Lord and Messiah, and some had believed. Then, after the Jewish leaders] had argued back and forth among themselves, they left with this final word from Paul: "The Holy Spirit was right when he said to your ancestors through Isaiah the prophet,

'Go and say to this people:
When you hear what I say,
you will not understand.
When you see what I do,
you will not comprehend.
For the hearts of these people are hardened,
and their ears cannot hear,
and they have closed their eyes —
so their eyes cannot see,
and their ears cannot hear,
and their hearts cannot understand,
and they cannot turn to me
and let me heal them.'"
— Acts 28:25-27 NLT

Key Thought

Jesus knew that many in his day could not believe because they would not believe.* They had made their minds up, their hearts were hardened, and their ears were closed to the truth. When we first encountered Paul (Saul) in Acts, he was among those who didn't believe (Acts 7:57-59, 8:3). Now, as a believer and talking to this group of Jewish religious leaders in Rome, he faced a challenge similar to what Jesus faced. Some of the leaders' minds were made up. When confronted with stubborn, unbelieving hearts, Jesus told his disciples to move to other people who were open and to leave behind those who chose not to believe.** While this kind of unbelief is heartbreaking, we must not let the unbelief of some people diminish our passion for reaching the world with the unstoppable Good News about Jesus (Acts 1:8). We conclude the book of Acts tomorrow, with Paul declaring and demonstrating this principle!

* See the first set of our Related Scripture Readings for an example of Jesus also using this same passage from Isaiah 6 describing people who could not believe because they would not believe.
** See the second set of our Related Scripture Readings.

Today's Prayer

O, dear Father, I know you long for the people of the world to awaken to the grace you have for them in Jesus. I confess that I get frustrated to the point of despair when people will not believe because they have chosen not to believe. They don't want to change their lifestyles. They can't see the self-destruction they are sowing for their own futures. I need your help not to take this rejection personally. I need to be reminded that, after I have tried to share my hope in Jesus with gentleness and respect,^ I need to move to other people because you have open hearts waiting for me to share Jesus. Give me strength and wisdom for recognizing the right time to share and knowing the right things to say and then identifying the right time to move to new people if people with whom I'm sharing the Good News refuse to believe. I ask this in Jesus' name and for the sake of those who need to know him. Amen.

^ 1 Peter 3:15-16

Related Scripture Readings

  • John 12:37-43; Isaiah 6:8-13
  • Luke 9:1-6, 10:8-12; Acts 13:49-52

Comments

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Illustration

Illustration of Acts 28:25-27 NLT — [Paul had spoken to the Jewish leaders in Rome all day. He had reasoned with them from the Scriptures that Jesus was both Lord and Messiah, and some had believed. Then, after the Jewish leaders] had argued back and forth among themselves, they left with this final word from Paul: "The Holy Spirit was right when he said to your ancestors through Isaiah the prophet,

'Go and say to this people:When you hear what I say,you will not understand.When you see what I do,you will not comprehend.For the hearts of these people are hardened,and their ears cannot hear,and they have closed their eyes —so their eyes cannot see,and their ears cannot hear,and their hearts cannot understand,and they cannot turn to meand let me heal them.'"

About This Devotional

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.