Paul Evangelizes in Rome
Key Verse: “Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it.”
EVENTUALLY PAUL REACHED his intended destination, Rome, where he was allowed to live in a private house. As a prisoner, however, he was continually chained to a Roman soldier who kept watch over his activities. In accordance with his practice of witnessing about Christ, Paul invited the prominent Jews to visit him so he could recount the circumstances which led to his being in Rome.—Acts 28:17-19
Although the Jewish rulers professed not to know anything about Paul, they wanted to hear more about his Christian faith which had been proclaimed widely. On another occasion, a larger number of Jews visited Paul, and he took the opportunity to tell them more about God’s kingdom. He attempted to persuade them that Jesus was their promised Messiah, quoting from Moses and the prophets. Some of Paul’s hearers believed that Jesus was God’s Son while others did not.—vss. 20-24
Despite Paul’s teaching, and in view of his disappointment that the Jews as a whole rejected his message, in our Key Verse Paul announced that he was, therefore, taking the good news of the Gospel to the Gentiles, and expressed an assurance that they would receive it. In any event, his two years of house arrest were most productive in that he had many visitors and he expounded the word of God to all who came.
In all of this we can take a lesson that a change in our circumstances does not necessarily mean we should become inactive, even though we may have to find different ways of serving the Lord’s cause. For those who are physically able but isolated, personal study, listening to recordings, corresponding with other brethren and witness activities through advertisements, tracts or obituaries are all profitable forms of service in addition to publicly declaring God’s plan to others as opportunity is presented. For those who are aging, or otherwise unable to do much of the foregoing, perhaps they might only be able to listen to recordings, receive visitors or be an example of steadfastness and cheerful endurance under adversity. Their greatest service may simply be remembering the brethren in prayer—being in this way “companions of them” who are able to be more actively engaged in the Lord’s service.—Heb. 10:33
As long as we have our faculties we can always pray for one another, and judging from the expressions of those who have requested an interest in prayers on their behalf, they have received grace and strength on many occasions from the prayers of brethren of “like precious faith.” Nevertheless, we are all responsible for doing what we can. The Lord will reward us for our faithfulness in serving his cause to the best of our ability.
May Paul’s recorded legacy serve to inspire us toward faithfulness even until the very end of our course. Thus may we receive the promised reward and be able to say with the apostle, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.”—II Tim. 4:7,8