#carmelprays – Acts 28:11-31
Opening Song: Lord From Sorrows Deep I Call
Read Scripture: Acts 28:11-31
In this passage, Paul and his company set out for Rome. The journey from where they were to Rome was 210 miles. Despite the distance, God brings Paul safely to Rome as He promised (v11-16). We see that God can be trusted to keep His word. What He promises, He will always fulfil.
At Rome, the local Jews gather around Paul and he has the opportunity to review his situation with them. Paul begins by establishing his innocence before them (28:17). The Jews respond by saying that they have not heard anything bad about him and that they would like to hear his views (v21-22).
A great number of people show up to hear Paul and he teaches them from morning to evening. Specifically, he taught them about the kingdom of God and persuaded them about Jesus Christ from the Law of Moses and the Prophets (v23).
Some were convinced while others were not. In response to the rejection of his teaching, Paul makes a closing statement using words from Isaiah 6:9-10. These words remind the Jews of the consequences of rejecting God’s way. He emphasises that they are closing their eyes, ears and hearts to God’s proclamations. Instead of hearing and turning to God, they are turning away from Him. Paul ends this by saying that he wants the Jews to know that God’s salvation has been sent to the Gentiles, who will listen (v28).
The book of Acts then ends on a note of triumph. Paul welcomes all who would come to see him. He proclaims the kingdom of God and taught about Christ with boldness despite being imprisoned (v30-31).
First, this passage challenges us to examine our hearts. The Jews in this account either believed or they did not. There is no middle ground when it comes to Jesus. Do you believe that Jesus saved you? Does that truth sink into your heart, causing you to live life differently? Here we see that there are serious consequences when we do not listen to God’s proclamations. Let us pray for soft hearts. Let us pray that we are always listening, seeing and feeling the love of Christ in our hearts.
Second, do we proclaim the gospel the way Paul does? Here he travels hundreds of miles and proclaims the gospel whenever he can. Despite all the suffering he has endured, Paul remains resolute in his mission. Are you proclaiming the gospel? Are there people in your life that need to hear the gospel? Pray for them and go to them. Paul loved the message and shared it to whoever would listen. We must do the same.
Pray in Response
Good and gracious God, I confess that when I examine my heart, I find so much sin. I thank You for loving me even when I fail You. I pray that You soften my heart so that I can love You more. Cleanse me from the sin that obscures Your beauty in my heart. Teach me to value You as the highest good in this world.
I also pray that You teach me to live like Paul. Help me to always be excited about the gospel. Help me to proclaim it fearlessly and joyfully, even in suffering. Teach me to be bold and to reach out to people who need to hear the gospel. Amen.
Response Song: Jesus, Strong and Kind
By Darren Sim