23 他們和保羅約定了日子，就有許多人到他的寓處來。保羅從早到晚，對他們講論這事，證明神國的道，引摩西的律法和先知的書，以耶穌的事勸勉他們。 24 他所說的話，有信的，有不信的。 25 他們彼此不合，就散了；未散以先，保羅說了一句話，說：聖靈藉先知以賽亞向你們祖宗所說的話是不錯的。 26 他說：你去告訴這百姓說：你們聽是要聽見，卻不明白；看是要看見，卻不曉得； 27 因為這百姓油蒙了心，耳朵發沉，眼睛閉著；恐怕眼睛看見，耳朵聽見，心裡明白，回轉過來，我就醫治他們。 28 所以你們當知道，神這救恩，如今傳給外邦人，他們也必聽受。（有古卷在此有： 29 保羅說了這話，猶太人議論紛紛的就走了。） 30 保羅在自己所租的房子裡住了足足兩年。凡來見他的人，他全都接待， 31 放膽傳講神國的道，將主耶穌基督的事教導人，並沒有人禁止。
23They arranged to meet Paul on a certain day, and came in even larger numbers to the place where he was staying. From morning till evening he explained and declared to them the kingdom of God and tried to convince them about Jesus from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets. 24Some were convinced by what he said, but others would not believe. 25They disagreed among themselves and began to leave after Paul had made this final statement: “The Holy Spirit spoke the truth to your forefathers when he said through Isaiah the prophet: 26” ‘Go to this people and say, “You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.” 27For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.’ 28“Therefore I want you to know that God’s salvation has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will listen!” 30For two whole years Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him. 31Boldly and without hindrance he preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.
- Paul spent two years of imprisonment in Rome welcoming everyone who came to his house. Acts began with a crucifixion turned into a resurrection. There had been imprisonments, beatings, martyrdoms – not just for Paul but for many members of the early church. There had been open threats and secret intrigues. And there had been the more subtle danger of compromise – the pressure to be drawn back into Jewish ritual, absorbed into the old rule keeping. Through it all, the gospel of Christ was spread to the world. Every attempt to confine it, to compromise it, to muffle it, to reject it was finally ineffective. It spread from the center of the world in Rome through the far reaches of the globe.
- Acts closes with this image: Paul, opening his home and his heart, preaches boldly and without hindrance to all comers without. As he has received hospitality, he offers it to “all who came to him.” As “God shows no partiality” (10:34), God’s messengers must be similarly inclusive.
- Pray that God will help me to offer hospitality to all who came to me and to show no partiality just as God does.
Prayer & Journaling:
Stay with God for a little longer. Continue to converse with God and listen to what he wants to tell me. Then write down any thought and/or prayer in the 2011 “Spiritual Journal” book.
Family Time (Begin this time by reading the passage above using a children’s Bible.)
Paul had an open door policy when he was under house arrest in Rome. He welcomed all who came to see him and shared the gospel with them. Discuss: Do you like to welcome people to your home? How can your family show kindness and generosity to those visitors? Write them in your Family Devotional Journal.