Friday, September 17, 2010

in a rented house in Rome

He lived there two whole years at his own expense, and welcomed all who came to him, proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance.
Acts 28:30-31

These are the words that conclude both the book of Acts and Paul's harrowing journey to Rome. He is a prisoner of the state under house arrest. God has provided ample opportunity for him to preach the gospel, even as his freedom is restricted by being in custody. For two entire years he was a prisoner of the state awaiting his hearing with the emperor, but he was free to share the gospel with anyone who wanted to see him. And Paul was popular.

His reputation proceeded him to Rome. He was greeted by groups of Christians and Jews before he even got settled in. In fact, some of them greet him in port and journey with him and his army escort as they make their way to the seat of the empire.

It appears that a steady stream of interested listeners came to see Paul. And there was enough support from the churches that his needs were met. He provided a house at his own expense, which was a better situation than what the government would have given him. He was able to regularly (and apparently without hindrance) receive visitors. The state placed no limitations on his religious efforts, so he was able to boldly proclaim the gospel and teach about Jesus. This was the best way for Paul to be a prisoner!

This ending may seem anti-climactic after the adventure Paul had just traveling to Rome, but it is where his heart longed to be. He was among the gentiles, in the seat of their highest culture, being sought out and entering into conversation with them about the gospel. Paul was thoroughly happy with this outcome, even if Caesar eventually might not be favorable to his case. At least he saw God deliver him over to his highest vision and calling. And in this little rented house in Rome, Paul was being used to change the world.

- Posted with my iPad. The Apple Kool-Aide tastes fine.

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