When they had set a day for Paul, they came to him at his lodging in large numbers; and he was explaining to them by solemnly testifying about the kingdom of God and trying to persuade them concerning Jesus, from both the Law of Moses and from the Prophets, from morning until evening. Some were being persuaded by the things spoken, but others would not believe.
And when they did not agree with one another, they began leaving after Paul had spoken one parting word, “The Holy Spirit rightly spoke through Isaiah the prophet to your fathers, saying, ‘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.” ’ Therefore let it be known to you that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will also listen.”
This audience in Rome is probably the most influential and powerful audience Paul has ever presented the Gospel to. Sure, he spoke before the Sanhedrin in Jerusalem and before all kinds of kings and governors, but this is Rome.
This is like making it to Broadway, where the ticket prices are $200 more than they would be a block over in a smaller theater.
All in one encounter, we see the pattern for evangelism and a warning to all who would have made it this far in the story.
There are a lot of people who will be around but won’t listen. But some of them will. There are a lot of people who will listen and not understand, but some of them will.
For those who hear, understand, see, and perceive, God will absolutely turn to them and make them His own. He will heal their disconnection from God and bring them into eternal life.
Can you imagine if you were a Gentile that knew just a little bit about the God of the Jews? This is a new message that this God, who is the One and Only God, is now reaching out to the Gentiles. Even if you hadn’t heard of YHWH before, His character and His ways are so different than any other religion in Rome.
This message of Paul was rejected by a lot of the Jewish leaders, but some listened. Many Gentiles came to believe in Jesus too. This message of caution and encouragement is the last documented Gospel presentation we have in the Bible, and its message still stands today.
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