Acts 28:17-31; 1 Samuel 6-7; Psalm 53
As we end this journey through the book of Acts we see Paul doing what Paul had always done: he was proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ. When he arrived in Rome he first met with the Jews and got the usual mixed reaction with some believing and some not believing. Isn’t it amazing that we often think the effectiveness of an evangelist is based on everyone believing? Then we see that for the next two years Paul proclaimed the gospel in his rented home as people came to him. “Then Paul dwelt two whole years in his own rented house, and received all who came to him, preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence, no one forbidding him.” (Acts 28:30-31) Some speculation holds that the book of Acts was, in part, a defense for Paul in the trial with Caesar. The book ends as Paul gets ready for that trial. We don’t know if Paul was executed after this trial or if he had another hearing that brought his execution. We do know this: Paul loved the Lord Jesus Christ and he testified of his saving power to all he met. He was willing to live for Jesus and he was willing to die for Jesus. He had enough faith that when good times came, he blessed God for them; when bad times came, he blessed God for them. His imprisonment in Rome – whether during these two years or when he was awaiting execution – was the cause of the gospel being preached among the Praetorian Guard. As followers of Christ how often do we let circumstances dictate our attitudes about life and about our faith? Do we see our circumstances as an obstacle to proclaiming our faith or as another way to proclaim the grace of Jesus Christ? If we remember that in good times or in bad, God is on His throne, we will be able to overcome our frustration at circumstances and use them to proclaim Christ.
Dear Lord, how often do I cry about my circumstances instead of seeing them as a different kind of opportunity to proclaim Your love and grace? Remind me of Your presence when I’m going through difficult times and open my eyes to the opportunities You give to share Your gospel.