By Pastor Rachel
Christianity began in Jerusalem with the commission given by Jesus Christ: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8).” In the last chapter, Paul was preaching without hindrance at the very heart of the Roman Empire.
1. Conversation with the local Jews
Paul appealed to the Jewish community of Rome, making clear he was innocent of any crime against the law or the Jewish people, and that he was a prisoner because of his belief in Israel’s Messiah, the hope of Israel. Paul has a heart for people to know Christ.
2. What kind of soil are you?
Paul solemnly testified of the kingdom of God, giving an exhaustive study of how the Old Testament spoke of Jesus. In response to his teaching, some Jews believed and trusted Jesus, when others did not. In Matthew 13, Jesus told us a parable: on hearing the message of God’s kingdom, some do not understand it, some receive it with joy but lasts only a short time, some are hindered by the worries of this life, and some produce a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. Different soil yield different harvest.
3. A “strange” ending
Acts ends with Paul under house arrest in Rome, awaiting a chance to speak to Caesar. Christians have questioned why Luke ends the story there, but many believed that it was not an unfulfilling conclusion. Luke closed the book with the image of Paul being chained but continuously, boldly and freely proclaiming God’s kingdom and the Lord Jesus Christ.
The subject of Luke’s narrative is not the lives of the servants of God but the Gospel. Don’t focus solely on celebrity Christians because you get hurt if they give up their faith. Don’t focus solely on pastors because they have their own weaknesses. Keep your eyes on God and the word of God. Your task is clear: with love, proclaim the gospel wherever God puts you.
The early church experienced internal challenges and external persecutions, but because they were willing to follow God wherever He led, the church continued to grow and the good news never stopped spreading never. That same Spirit that lived in Paul lives in you. He is spurring you on to live a life that is marked by boldness, unhindered in sharing with others about who Jesus is and what He has done for you.