In Him we have our being {Acts 28}

1:37 AM

By Lisa Thayer

We are at the end of the book of Acts, and Paul,  has finally fulfilled his dream of getting the gospel to Rome – nearly 3,000 miles from where the Holy Spirit descended upon the Church in that upper room.

In Acts 20, Paul left the Ephesian elders and went to Jerusalem to observe Passover as he had planned.  Some Jewish authorities recognized him and told the Romans that Paul was there to start a revolt, which was a lie.  The Romans question him and realize it’s a lie, but can’t figure out what to do with him, so they send him to Felix.  Felix leaves Paul in prison for 2 years, which seems pretty harsh, except for you and I benefit greatly because he wrote several books of the New Testament while there.  

Then Festus succeeds Felix and discovers Paul is in prison.  Paul tells Festus he wants to appeal to Caesar.  But before Paul can appeal to Caesar, they ship him off to another governor.  Herod Agrippa comes to visit and meets Paul.  Agrippa wants to know why all these Jews hate Paul.  People constantly wanted to know what made Paul tick.

Paul’s manner of life provoked a question.  Our lives should provoke a question.  I remember one day at work when a co-worker asked me how I get through each day.  I had worked with this guy since my first husband died.  And this conversation took place shortly after Andy, my second husband had fallen 40 feet from a tree.  This guy just looked at me in the eyes and asked, “How can you keep coming in here so happy?”  I told him, “Faith.  My faith is my hope – for something yet to come – that’s better than what we have now.”  

Peter said it this way, “In your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.”  1 Peter 3:15

Peter is supposing that your life provokes that question.  People should be so intrigued by how you live that they ask why do you do what you do.

Paul says that our work should be done with such excellence and integrity even when no one is looking, that people say, ‘I can tell you work for a different boss than money.’

Paul’s life was on the line – but he’d been given an audience (Acts 26:27-29) to proclaim Jesus.  Is that how you see your life?  Is that how you see your profession?  Maybe you are a doctor, or a nurse, or a teacher, or a student.  God’s purpose for you is to bring others to Christ.  Paul saw whatever situation, whether advantageous for him or not, as a platform from which to proclaim Jesus.  Are you doing that?

At the end of this book, Luke tells us that Paul ends up living here for 2 years at his own expense (under house arrest) and welcomed all who came to him, proclaiming the Kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance.

We never find out what happens when he stands before Caesar.  Paul wrote in the book of Romans that he wanted to go to Spain.  This book ends on a cliffhanger.  Why?  This isn’t about Paul or his dreams.  It’s about the spread of the gospel.  We know from history that Paul is eventually released and went to Spain and gets beheaded by that nasty Nero.  I think Luke ends this book this way to tell all the Nero’s of the world, you may be able to imprison all the Paul’s, even kill them, but you can never stop the Spirit.

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