17 After three days he called together the local leaders of the Jews, and when they had gathered, he said to them, “Brothers, though I had done nothing against our people or the customs of our fathers, yet I was delivered as a prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans. 18 When they had examined me, they wished to set me at liberty, because there was no reason for the death penalty in my case. 19 But because the Jews objected, I was compelled to appeal to Caesar—though I had no charge to bring against my nation. 20 For this reason, 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.” 21 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. 22 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.”

Acts 28:17–22 ESV Read More

It’s so cool how Paul, after misery at sea and all of this arrest business, goes back to the system he knows. Reach out to the local Jewish leaders and people, see how many of them turn to Jesus, make others mad, and reach out to the Gentiles.

The thing that has benefited him so much here is that the people that sent him from Jerusalem didn’t keep up with him enough to make sure the accusations made it to Rome! Now that he’s made it there, they have lost his paperwork, so to speak. The Romans don’t know what is going on, and the Jewish leaders are intrigued to hear more about “this sect we know that everywhere is spoken against.”

Does this crew sound open-minded? Do these people sound like they are in a hurry to believe what Paul has to say about the “sect” of Jesus?

Not really.

With nobody accusing him and a crowd coming to hear him talk but probably won’t be on his side, Paul is doing a pretty good job. He didn’t burst out attacking his accusers but instead pleaded the case that he was a good traditional Jewish man.

Back in Acts 23, Jesus told Paul that just as he testified about Him in Jerusalem, Paul would testify about Him in Rome. He didn’t say whether it would be in front of Jews or Gentiles. It didn’t say whether it would be a one-time event or ongoing.

Either way, can you imagine Paul realizing the fulfillment of what Jesus had promised back in that Roman prison?

Now his audience has said “none of the brothers coming here has reported or spoken any evil about you,” and they want to come hear about Jesus. This is as much a history of the early church as it is a story of hope for the Gospel. When Jesus said “to the ends of the earth” in Acts 1, He meant it.

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