They disagreed among themselves and began to leave after Paul had made this final statement: “The Holy Spirit spoke the truth to your ancestors when he said through Isaiah the prophet:
“‘Go to this people and say,
“You will be ever hearing but never understanding;
you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.”
For 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.’
“Therefore I want you to know that God’s salvation has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will listen!”
–Acts 28:25-28, New International Version
When Paul arrived in Rome, he (Acts 28:16) was allowed to dwell by himself with a soldier that kept him. After being there just three days, he invited the leaders of the Jews together for a meeting. He emphasized his innocence, explained his appeal to Caesar, and testified that he was in chains for the hope of Israel. They listened to Paul, indicated that they had no letters concerning him, and invited him to explain more about the “sect” called Christian.
A day was appointed for him to speak. He expounded concerning the kingdom of God and tried to persuade them to believe in Jesus. He spoke out of the law of Moses and out of the prophets. He spoke from early morning until evening. Some of the Jews believed, but some did not.
Paul Cites Isaiah
Because the Jews (verse 25) were in disagreement, they left. However, they did not leave before Paul spoke one final word to them. Paul says, “The Holy Spirit rightly spoke through Isaiah the prophet to your fathers.” The Holy Spirit inspired Isaiah with a message (Isaiah 6:9-10) to their ancestors. That message applied very well to Paul’s audience. The Jews would hear but not understand; they would see but not perceive the truth. Their hearts were dull.
Now, Paul declares (verse28): “Therefore let it be known to you that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will also listen.” This declaration was in total harmony with his calling and ministry. Although it was his custom to go to the Jews first, he always went on to minister to the Gentiles.
Ministry in Rome
The Jews left, but the door was open for Paul to minister in Rome. For two years Paul dwelled in his own hired house and ministered to all who came to him. Even some of Caesar’s household (Philippians 4:22) were saved. Although confined to his house, Paul freely ministered.
Horton, Stanley M. The Book of Acts. Springfield: Gospel Publishing House, 1981.
Lenski, R.C.H. The Acts of the Apostles. Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House, 1961.
© Copyright 2003. GMF.