Thursday 18 June, 2020

Acts 28:23-31

23 They arranged to meet Paul on a certain day, and came in even larger numbers to the place where he was staying. He witnessed to them from morning till evening, explaining about the kingdom of God, and from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets he tried to persuade them about Jesus. 24 Some were convinced by what he said, but others would not believe. 25 They disagreed among themselves and began to leave after Paul had made this final statement: “The Holy Spirit spoke the truth to your ancestors when he said through Isaiah the prophet: 26 “‘Go to this people and say, “You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.” 27 For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.’ 28 “Therefore I want you to know that God’s salvation has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will listen!” [29] 30 For two whole years Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him. 31 He proclaimed the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ—with all boldness and without hindrance!

Paul took such care and time in sharing Jesus, “the hope of Israel”, with the Roman Jews. All day he was at it and I can imagine the debates that went on.

What I find incredible here is the heart Paul has for the Jews. He desires that they meet Jesus, their hope of salvation. I find it incredible because everywhere he has been the Jews have harassed and generally make things very difficult for Paul and his companions. By the time he reaches Rome and, thanks again to the Jews is under house arrest, he could be understandably pretty fed up with them all.

He also could have written this group off as being as hard hearted as those he had already dealt with and assumed they were only set to oppose him.

It is a fall-back position I must avoid – assuming people won’t be interested in the message of the gospel, or will have already hardened their heart, so why bother trying to share my faith? What are my preconceived ideas about those I meet or know who don’t know Jesus? More and more people today have no idea about Jesus and God’s plan to rescue us. But on the other hand, everyone has an innate sense of a higher power, and many are searching for a connection with a higher being. I want to be ready to passionately persuade, just as Paul did.

Thank you, Lord, that despite my preconceived ideas of others’ attitude to you, you are still at work bringing people into a loving relationship with yourself. You have shown me that my attitude to them is a hindrance. Change my heart to be like Paul’s, ready to open up about your love in my life. Amen

Written by Claire Moore

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