Acts 28:11-31 Paul at Rome- A Word to the Jews
With this study we will complete the book of Acts. The studies will be available at the Christian Challenge web site for future reference. Following this study we will return to our regular Hebraic studies.
There are a couple of things I need to reemphasize about the Acts of the Apostles. Acts was never intended to be simply a doctrinal book. Its emphasis is on the changing of covenants. The pattern in the preaching is 'to the Jew first,' and then to all other nations.
There is a simple truth in this. The new covenant completes the covenant of Moses. The Messiah had come. But the new covenant was made with Israel, and though many rejected Him, the essence of our faith still remains Hebraic. It is heavenly in its spiritual essence.
We have been looking at the very first disciples of Jesus Christ, and in particular the 'apostles of the Lamb.' No other person has ever had the authority given to the original apostles. This does not mean that healing and miracles ceased with them. It simply means that these men had the responsibility and authority for laying the foundation for the new covenant. For this reason they are to be held in honor along with God's prophets of old.
Let me mention once again, that the new covenant had its beginning in Jerusalem, and will complete itself in Jerusalem. You've often heard me say this. However, this is a key note to understanding redemption history.
OK, its time to go. Are you ready for Rome?
This is Acts043 - Acts 28:11-31 Paul at Rome- A Word to the Jews
The Lord promised Paul that he would appear before Caesar. Let's pick up from the island of Malta.
Vss11-15: Synopsis - Paul spends three months on Malta and then the apostolic band sets sail. After some port stops, the apostle arrives in Puteoli, Italy, which is about 120 miles from Rome. It should be noted that there were already Christians there. There is an ancient tradition that the bishop (pastor) of Puteoli was one of the 70 disciples that Jesus had sent forth. In any event, Paul was stayed with them for seven days.
"... and so we went toward Rome."
From this point the apostolic group will travel by foot. Rome was the metropolitan city of the Roman Empire. It was known everywhere as the 'city on seven hills.' At that time she was considered the mistress of the whole world. Rome was supposedly built about 750 years before Christ. This would put its founding around the time of Isaiah the prophet, or somewhat earlier.
Vs16: "And when we came into Rome, Paul was allowed to stay by himself, with the soldier that guarded him."
.... Jewish Christians from Rome met Paul and brought him to the city. No one knows who began the work in Rome. Neither Peter nor Paul were involved in its beginnings. The church may have come as a result of Pentecost 30 a.d., and then grown from there. Paul wrote a letter to them. In fact to study early church doctrine it would be amiss not to place the letter to the Romans at the forefront.
Vss17-20: Synopsis - After three days Paul sent for the local Jewish leadership. When they came, Paul sets about to explain the events that led to his present circumstances. The apostle ends his defense with a statement that sets forth the true reason for his chains.
"... therefore, I have asked to see you and speak with you, since it is because of the hope of Israel that I am wearing this chain."
The expression 'the hope of Israel' had a rich meaning for the Jewish people. It spoke directly to Messiah. Jeremiah calls attention to this term in applying it to God; "O You Hope of Israel, its savior in time of trouble, why should you be like a stranger in the land, like a traveler who turns aside to tarry for a night?" (Jer14:8)
Vs21: "And they said to him, "We have received no letters from Judea about you, and none of the brothers coming here has reported or spoken any evil about you."
... It is quite interesting that no bad reports had been sent from the priests or the Sanhedrin in Jerusalem. Nor had any of the Jews from anywhere spoken evil of Paul. A lot could be read into this, but perhaps the prophet said it best, when he said, "No weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed, and you shall confute every tongue that rises against you in judgment. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD.." (Isa54:17)
Vs22: "But we desire to hear from you what your views are, for with regard to this sect we know that everywhere it is spoken against."
... These Jewish leaders are quite open to Paul sharing the gospel with them. Notice that they speak of the Christians as a 'sect.' At that time the Jewish Christians were still pretty much considered one of the many sects of Judaism.
As for this 'sect' being spoken against, Jesus said it would happen. He said, "Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person's enemies will be those of his own household." (Matt10:34-36)
Vss23-25: Synopsis - A day is set for the Jewish leadership to come hear to Paul speak of Messiah. He speaks to them from the law of Moses and from the prophets, "from morning until evening." Some of the men are persuaded while others "would not believe." It is at this point that Paul gives them one final word, in saying, "The Holy Spirit rightly spoke through Isaiah the prophet to your fathers..."
What Paul says next sets forth what happened to the Jewish peoples in their rejection of Jesus Christ. Keep in mind that the rejection isn't simply against what Paul has to say, it is a rejection of the testimony of Moses himself and the rest of the prophets. In quoting from Isaiah....
Vss26,27: "'GO TO THIS PEOPLE AND SAY, "YOU WILL KEEP ON HEARING, BUT WILL NOT UNDERSTAND; AND YOU WILL KEEP ON SEEING, BUT WILL NOT PERCEIVE; FOR THE HEART OF THIS PEOPLE HAS BECOME DULL, AND WITH THEIR EARS THEY SCARCELY HEAR, AND THEY HAVE CLOSED THEIR EYES; OTHERWISE THEY MIGHT SEE WITH THEIR EYES, AND HEAR WITH THEIR EARS, AND UNDERSTAND WITH THEIR HEART AND RETURN, AND I WOULD HEAL THEM."'
... This tells us why it has been difficult to carry the witness of Jesus to Jewish people through the centuries. In rejecting the testimony of the prophets, they shut themselves off from the revelation of Christ.
But it goes much deeper. After the destruction of the temple in 70 a.d, a new Jewish religion arose from the ashes. This new religion set aside the prophets and put in their place the rabbis. Over time it became known as Talmudic or Rabbinic Judaism. But the seed bed had already been planted. This is what Jesus had in view when He spoke of 'the traditions of elders.' (We will get more into this in our regular Hebraic studies.)
The one statement to keep in mind is, "They have closed their eyes." The leadership shut their eyes to Jesus, and because of this the Lord said they had the greater sin. One day this will be reversed and the Lord will open their eyes.
Paul then says...
Vs28,29: "'Therefore let it be known to you that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will also listen.' When he had spoken these words, the Jews departed, having a great dispute among themselves."
... Once again we see how the gospel was intended for all peoples of every kindred and tongue.
And so we come to the closure of the book of Acts. It says,
Vss30,31: "And he stayed two full years in his own rented quarters and was welcoming all who came to him, preaching the kingdom of God and teaching concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with all openness, unhindered."
.... Does the story end here. Not according to some historians. It is said that Paul was set at liberty and traveled on into Italy, France and Spain. Perhaps he did. We do know that he desired to go to Spain. There was a large colony of Jews there. It is also interesting to note that modern Jewish demographics states that 90% of people from the Iberian region have Jewish lineage.
Anyway, this concludes our study in Acts.
This study was originally part of a series on the book of Acts given to members of Hebraic Foundations from July 10, 2002 through January 19, 2003. They were written by Pastor Buddy Martin, a former United Pentecostal Church minister, who founded Christian Challenge International. Writings are the copyright of Buddy Martin and reprinted on this site by permission.
Page added October 22, 2004
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