Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Ephesians 4:32
Read the “1124 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“23 And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into his lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening. 24 And some believed the things which were spoken, and some believed not. 25 And when they agreed not among themselves, they departed, after that Paul had spoken one word, Well spake the Holy Ghost by Esaias the prophet unto our fathers, 26 Saying, Go unto this people, and say, Hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive: 27 For the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. 28 Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it. 29 And when he had said these words, the Jews departed, and had great reasoning among themselves. 30 And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him, 31 Preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man forbidding him.” (Acts 28:23-31)
There are many things that we can discuss from the reading this morning, but as I was contemplating the passage the Lord brought to my mind three main thoughts. First, I was encouraged by the fact that Paul kept moving forward even though he faced many obstacles, some of which were cause by his own mistakes. Paul was warned twice by the Lord not to go to Jerusalem (Acts 21:4; 11), and then when he arrived there Jesus personally appeared to him in a vision and told him to leave (Acts 22:18). Paul should not have gone to Jerusalem even though he was going for good reasons. As a result he ended up arrested by the chief captain, Claudius Lysius. He was then sent to Caesarea where he was detained for two years under Governor Felix and then Governor Festus. He then appealed his case to Caesar, which meant that he was going to have to travel to Rome where he would face many dangerous circumstances including a shipwreck and a bite from a poisonous snake. All throughout these journeys Paul is witnessing with both his words and his works about the saving grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. Eventually, he makes it to Rome where he has the opportunity to witness to many more people and also write many letters to the churches, including the four Prison Epistles that we have in our Bible. Paul never quit telling people about Jesus, even when things were going horribly for him.
My second thought from today’s reading comes from vs. 25 – 27 (above). Paul is quoting from Isaiah:
“9 And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. 10 Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed.” (Isaiah 6:9-10)
“10 For the LORD hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes: the prophets and your rulers, the seers hath he covered.” (Isaiah 29:10)
Jesus also quoted from this Old Testament prophet:
“15 For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.” (Matthew 13:15)
Notice that Paul and Jesus both state it a little differently than Isaiah. Jesus and Paul explain that the people are the ones who have closed their eyes. Isaiah words it in such a way that it almost appears that the blame for the people’s rejection is on God. However, Jesus and Paul both make it clear that it is the people who have closed their own eyes to the Truth of the Gospel.
My final thought from this wonderful Book of Acts has to do with the abrupt ending of it. It stops at Paul’s first imprisonment in Rome. We know that Paul will live on a few more years and will be imprisoned at least one more time, and will finally be put to death by Nero. Why does this Book seemingly end prematurely. I believe it is because the Book of Acts when never intended to give us a complete history of the New Testament church, nor even a complete history of Paul or any of the other Apostles. It only gives us the beginning of the story, but the Acts of the Holy Spirit in the world through believers was “To Be Continued.” It is continuing today through you, and through me.
Posted in Devotions by Phil Erickson with 3 comments.