It almost comes as an anticlimax when Paul arrives in Rome.
He has been talking about it so much and for so long. After a big spiritual battle in Ephesus, Paul had said that he needed to go to both Jerusalem and Rome. Jesus Himself had told him that he must testify in Rome. When Paul got himself into a tight spot at his trial in Caesarea, he had pulled out his trump card and appealed to Caesar in Rome. He had even written to the Christians in Rome, telling them that he longed to come to see them.
Finally, Paul was on his way to Rome, and he went through a lot to get there. A tempestuous storm, a shipwreck, a final dash through the surf to a Maltese beach, a bite from a poisonous snake, the rain and the cold. Since there were some sick people there, Paul prayed and healed everyone who was sick. When Paul left Malta, there was not one person on the island who was sick.
Rome—Paul is finally there, and yet compared with all of the other places he has been, there is hardly a ruffle. He meets up with the local Jewish leaders, as he always does, and they take it very civilly. They are not all convinced, but there are no riots, no tantrum-throwing idol-makers, no stone-throwing rulers of the Sanhedrin. They just part company, and Paul simply continues his gospel as he has always done, “proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance.”
And that is it. That is the end of the story.
And yet it is not. Once the good news about the kingdom of God and the Lord Jesus Christ had reached Rome, it would go on to the ends of the world. In many ways, the book of Acts ends with the promise of the gospel story going global.
The fact that Paul reached Rome is why you and I have been reading through his story over the last twenty-eight days. It is why we are followers of Jesus. It is why we have the opportunity to be enter the kingdom of God and have eternal life.
The abrupt ending of Acts is also an invitation and an opportunity. The story has not finished. The last chapters of the book have yet to be written.
What is going to be your contribution to the book of Acts? What chapter is the Holy Spirit going to write through your life?
I can’t wait to read it! To be continued…
The book of Acts is drenched with the Holy Spirit. Reading it is like taking time to play out in the tropical rain! Read the full stories for today in:
Congratulations! You have reached the end of this journey with us. However, in many ways, it is just the beginning. I encourage you to step out in faith and boldness and share the good news of Jesus wherever you are. I would also like to invite you to join the fortnightly Mission to Sydney e-newsletter to keep with how the Holy Spirit is writing the story of the book of Acts right here in Sydney. Jump on board!
“Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith— to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen.” Romans 16:25-27