**Because of my mismanagement, or because Luke ended Acts earlier than he should have, this week there are only four days of reading finishing out the book of Acts.**
Read Acts 28: 11-16
· V. 11 – The little details of Scripture are never random or accidental. So what’s your guess for why Luke mentioned the ship’s figurehead?
· V. 12-13 – These “travelogues” are given to the Church to remind us that God’s people don’t exist and move forward on some magical plain, but under the same constraints of space, time, and weather as everyone else. Are you ok with that?
· VV. 14, 15 – The last leg of this journey is marked by interactions with “brothers” in Christ (a moniker which includes sisters too). These fellow Christians invite the weary (and probably bedraggled) travelers into their homes. And then they make the unnecessary gesture of coming out to meet Paul to accompany him into the great city. It all made a difference. How much is in this sentence: “On seeing them, Paul thanked God and took courage.” Is there something big or small you can do for your fellow Christians today? And…why would you want to skip even a week of the encouragement from gathering with fellow Christians?!
· V. 16 – We know from Romans 1 and Romans 15 that for a long time Paul had been eager to visit Rome. He couldn’t have known then that he’d be a prisoner when he finally made it there. “God moves in mysterious ways His wonders to perform.”
Read Acts 28: 17-22
· V. 17ff – A preemptive move by Paul so that he can be the first to frame the narrative of what’s brought him there. Why? Not just so his countrymen will take his side but because he wants “to convince them about Jesus” (v.23). Faithful ministry and strategy aren’t opposed!
· V. 20 – Paul connects his ministry and its outcomes (including the unfortunate ones) to “the hope of Israel.” Again, brothers and sisters, we’re learning that Christianity isn’t a new religion but a continuation of the story of Israel.
· V. 21 – This has always struck me as a little, unintended insult to Paul. Paul gives a big speech about why he’s there, why he’s not there…then their reply: eh, we’ve never heard of you.
Read Acts 28:23-31
· V.23 – “from morning till evening” – more evidence that my sermons are way too brief.
· VV. 23 & 31 – the twice repeated summary of Paul’s message to his countrymen is “the kingdom of God” and “Jesus.” I’m guessing we’re not surprised about the “Jesus” emphasis.” But would/does “the kingdom of God” come into your presentations of the gospel? Here’s one way of doing it.
· V. 23 – “The Law of Moses and…the Prophets” is a way of describing the entire Old Testament. It is the repeated claim of Jesus and the Apostles that the Old Testament started the story that reached its decisive point in Jesus, specifically His death and resurrection. Oh, to become more adept at seeing the Bible as a unified narrative. Let’s keep struggling to discover the big picture!
· V. 24 – An interesting way of reporting the two responses: “convinced” and “disbelieved.” Convinced seems focused on the intellect while disbelieved appears to have to do more with the will and the spirit. What’s your takeaway?
Read Acts 28: 23-31 (one more time)
· VV. 25-28 – Paul isn’t exactly buttering up his audience! This takes courage, right?
· V. 30 – why do you think that Luke (the author) relays that Paul lived at his own expense?
· V. 31 – A good last verse that captures the ethos of the entire book of Acts. May God grant to Somers Baptist Church to proclaim the kingdom of God and the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance.