Acts 28:1-16: Almost There
February 24, 2023
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
Leviticus 24-25, Psalm 46, Matthew 21:1-11, Acts 28:1-16
We are almost at the final moment of this extraordinary story told by Luke. It began, in his second volume (that book we call “Acts”; the first volume being what we call the Gospel of Luke), with the architecture of the book being announced that it would describe how the gospel of the kingdom goes from Jerusalem to Judea to Samaria and then to the ends of the earth. That story will not finish with Acts, because that story is still not yet finished. We are a part of taking the gospel of the kingdom to our Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and ends of the earth. But here, at least, Paul arrives now at the center of the Empire: in Rome.
First, we meet him still on Malta. The indigenous people move from thinking he is a criminal, to thinking he is a god, to being grateful for the way God used him to heal them. And then Paul and his companions travel to Rome, where he is now under house arrest.
What can we learn from this nearly final stage of the story?
First, to make the most of the moments along the way, as well as the destination. Paul knew that Malta was not his destination. And yet he ministered with passion and grace and power in that place too. We can sometimes be so goal-focused that we lose sight of the opportunity right in front of us. In the gas station. In the checkout at the supermarket. In the office cubicle. This too is an opportunity. How can you make the most of it for the advance of the kingdom?
Second, we learn of the healing power of God. Christians disagree as to what extent such gifts of healing still operate today, but all agree that God can and sometimes does still heal. He does it through miraculous means on occasion, as well as through modern medicine. Let us be those who not only preach the gospel with words, but also take care of those around us and minister to their real needs out of love for them and love for Christ. Look how powerful Paul’s witness is because he healed their sick!
Third, we can learn again of God’s amazing providence and gracious protection. They arrive in Rome and are, for the moment, safe there. After all the difficulties of the journey, how sweet is the simple, safe arrival.
Fourth, we can learn of the sweetness of godly fellowship. Paul saw these brothers and sisters who had heard that they were coming and took courage. Our presence, just being there for people, can give a fellow Christian a great new lease of life and a sense of courage. Do not underestimate the power of being with someone and showing you care by coming alongside and expressing your care in practical ways. That can be how God shows that he cares for them too.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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