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God’s Word for You

Acts 28:30-31 The end

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Saturday, March 20, 2021

30 Paul lived there for two whole years in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him. 31 Boldly and without hindrance he preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.

Paul’s stay in Rome lasted about two years. He didn’t get to see Caesar right away, but this was and still is typical of any court case. Courts don’t have openings tomorrow or next week; all of the hours are full. Months or years will go by before a case can be tried.

While he was in his house, Paul was visited by many people. Compared with his later stay in a cold Roman prison (2 Timothy 4:13) this was almost a pleasant vacation. Paul had enough to eat, enough money to live on, freedom enough for friends to visit as often as they wished, plenty of food, sunlight, fresh water, and anything else he might need. He also had plenty of time to preach the gospel, and this was always on his mind and on his lips. What happened after this? We have quite a lot of information about Paul’s later years from his epistles.

59-61/62Paul in prison in Rome (Acts 28:16-31)
Paul writes Ephesians, Colossians, Philemon and Philippians from Rome
62Paul sees Caesar, is released from prison (Acts 25:12)
62-64Paul goes to Spain (Romans 15:24,28)
64-65Paul returns to Crete from Spain (Titus 1:5)
65Paul in Miletus in Asia Minor (2 Timothy 4:20)
66Paul goes to Colosse (Philemon 20)
Paul goes to Ephesus (1 Timothy 1:3)
Paul travels to Philippi (through Troas? Philippians 2:23-24)
Paul crosses back into Macedonia (1 Timothy 1:3)
Paul writes 1 Timothy and Titus (1 Timothy 1:3; Titus 1:5, 3:12)
Paul travels to Nicopolis (western Greece, Titus 3:12)
67Paul is once again arrested and taken to Rome (2 Timothy 1:17)
68Paul knows he will soon be martyred (2 Timothy 4:6-8)
Paul writes 2 Timothy from prison (2 Timothy 2:9)
Paul is martyred in Rome (tradition and 2 Timothy 4:6-8)

This is not the way many modern readers would like Luke to finish his book. We are brought back to the issue I brought up with my comments on Acts 1:1, that this book might not be the conclusion but only Volume 2 of three or more books. But I stated my reasons for accepting Acts as part 2 of just 2 parts at that time.

The task of carrying the gospel to Jews and Gentiles continues from this point onward to the present day, and up to the Last Trumpet (1 Corinthians 15:52). The role of the preacher is the same as the role of every Christian: to share the word of Christ and to “ransom the world from the power of the grave” (Hosea 13:14). This is done with the message of Jesus, crucified for our sins and risen from the grave. Whether the messenger is a pastor, a painter, a janitor, a goatherd, a model, a bartender, a waitress, a nurse, or an angel from heaven, the message is the same: “Jesus of Nazareth who was crucified is risen!” (Mark 16:6). Take the message of forgiveness and be sure your children know it. Make certain your parents, brothers, and sisters remember it, and that your neighbors know. You can’t force anyone to be saved or to somehow look more like a Christian or to live more like one, but that isn’t your task. If you meet someone who believes the world is shaped like a pencil or thinks that we should have a form of government that’s just like the game of Cricket is played in England, your task as a Christian isn’t to change their views on politics or science, but to let them know about Jesus. “Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord will never count against him” (Romans 4:7-8). And blessed are you when you get to tell them.

Some of you may remember that these devotions on Acts began 21 years ago while I was a missionary, and that their completion has been delayed by many things. I regret that most of them are too brief, that I have not gone into more detail, and that many questions you may have about this important part of the Scriptures remain unanswered. But I have been blessed and enlightened by the study and by writing them, and I pray that in some small way, you have as well. God bless your continuing study of his word. Treasure it. His word is Truth, and it is Life. Amen.

In Christ,
Pastor Timothy Smith

Pastor Tim Smith

About Pastor Timothy Smith
Pastor Smith serves St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm, Minnesota. To receive God’s Word for You via e-mail, please contact Pastor Smith.

 

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