11 After three months we set sail in an Alexandrian ship that had wintered at the island, with the Twin Brothers as its figurehead. 12 Putting in at Syracuse, we stayed three days. 13 From there, after making a circuit along the coast, we reached Rhegium. After one day a south wind sprang up, and the second day we came to Puteoli. 14 There we found believers and were invited to stay with them for seven days. And so we came to Rome. 15 Now the believers from there had heard the news about us and had come to meet us as far as the Forum of Appius and the Three Taverns. When Paul saw them, he thanked God and took courage. 16 When we entered Rome, Paul was permitted to stay by himself with the soldier who guarded him.
17 After three days he called together the leaders of the Jews. When they had gathered he said to them: “Brothers, although I have done nothing against our people or the customs of our ancestors, I was delivered as a prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans.18 After they examined me, they wanted to release me, since I had not committed a capital offense. 19 Because the Jews objected, I was compelled to appeal to Caesar; it was not as though I had any accusation against my nation. 20 For this reason I’ve asked to see you and speak to you. In fact, it is for the hope of Israel that I’m wearing this chain.” 21 Then they said to him, “We haven’t received any letters about you from Judea. None of the brothers has come and reported or spoken anything evil about you. 22 But we would like to hear from you what you think. For concerning this sect, we are aware that it is spoken against everywhere.”
23 After arranging a day with him, many came to him at his lodging. From dawn to dusk he expounded and witnessed about the kingdom of God. He tried to persuade them concerning Jesus from both the Law of Moses and the Prophets. 24 Some were persuaded by what he said, but others did not believe. 25 Disagreeing among themselves, they began to leave after Paul made one statement: “The Holy Spirit correctly spoke through the prophet Isaiah to your ancestors 26 when He said,
Go to these people and say: You will listen and listen, yet never understand; and you will look and look, yet never perceive. 27 For the hearts of these people have grown callous, their ears are hard of hearing, and they have shut their eyes; otherwise they might see with their eyes and hear with their ears, understand with their heart, and be converted, and I would heal them. 28 Therefore, let it be known to you that this saving work of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will listen!” [29 After he said these things, the Jews departed, while engaging in a prolonged debate among themselves.]
30 Then he stayed two whole years in his own rented house. And he welcomed all who visited him, 31 proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching the things concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with full boldness and without hindrance.
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Holman CSB®, and HCSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
Then he stayed two whole years in his own rented house. And he welcomed all who visited him, proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching the things concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with full boldness and without hindrance.
— Acts 28:30-31
Ananias told Paul what the Lord said he must do.
“This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for my name” (Acts 9:15-16).
Paul knew exactly what he needed to do, but didn’t know what it would look like exactly. His circumstances changed constantly. Things didn’t always go his way.
He didn’t get to Rome the way he wanted. He was ship wrecked. He was bitten by a viper. He had multiple stops the whole way to Rome—and he was put under house arrest once he got there.
I don’t know about you, but I’d start complaining or asking a bunch of questions:
“Do I keep going?”
“Am I going the right way?”
“What are you asking me to do (again)?”
“What can I do from a house?”
I probably would’ve forgotten what Jesus had asked me to do in the first place because I would’ve focused in on all the things happening to me and around me.
Not Paul. He didn’t give up. He lived and did what God had called him to do no matter the circumstances. He didn’t forget that God had chosen him to “carry Jesus’ name before the Gentiles and before the people of Israel.”
Paul was under house arrest and preached the Good News of Jesus Christ, even though he couldn’t leave. He welcomed visitors and proclaimed the kingdom of God to all who would listen—all from inside his home for two years. Two years!
Whether traveling from city to city or under house arrest, Paul lived out what Jesus asked him to do. No circumstance changed his purpose—to proclaim the Good News.
- How often do we think our purpose has changed because the circumstances around us have changed? Or question when things get rough?
- If you were sent on assignment and were met with constant delays, would you give up?
- Am I willing to obey the mission God has for me no matter the circumstances?