Paul continued to have great impact on the spread of the gospel and the building up of the early church. Today, we will discuss Paul’s last journey to Rome, where it is believed he eventually died under the persecution of the emperor Nero.
While in Jerusalem, Paul was arrested at the temple when some Jews accused him of teaching against the law; Paul believed that Christ provided salvation, not the law (Acts 21:27–36). In Acts 22, Paul gave his defense by sharing his testimony. He reminded them that he used to be the one persecuting Christians, but his life changed when God met him on the road to Damascus and sent him to be His witness of all that he had seen and heard. Through his defense, Paul was doing this exact thing—sharing about all that God had done in his life.
Why do you think Paul shared his testimony as his defense? Our personal testimonies are powerful tools for defending or sharing the gospel. Think about all the ways God has worked in your life. No one can argue with these things. Your testimony is a platform to share the mighty works of God. It is a story of redemption, where the impossible becomes possible.
During this time of unrest, Paul heard from the Lord about testifying to the gospel in Rome (Acts 23:11).
Paul before Roman Officials
The Jews would not listen to Paul and even plotted to kill him (Acts 23:12–22). Due to the fact that Paul was a Roman citizen, he had the right to a legal trial where he could defend himself. It also meant that Paul could not be beaten or sentenced to death unless he was guilty of treason. For these reasons, Paul was sent to Caesarea to stand before Felix, the Roman governor of Judea (Acts 23:23–35). There, Paul was kept in custody for two years.
Paul then stood before Festus, who was Felix’s successor. Before Festus, Paul appealed to Caesar and Festus granted his wish. Before Paul was sent to Caesar, he stood before King Agrippa and declared yet another defense proclaiming the word God had done in his life (Acts 26).
Finally, Paul set sail for Rome (Acts 27:1). Along this journey, they encountered a storm that left them shipwrecked. In the middle of the storm, Paul heard from an angel of the Lord promising him that no lives would be lost. Paul encouraged the men on board with him that God was faithful and He could be trusted (Acts 27:22–26). Even in the midst of difficulty and chaos, Paul encouraged those around him with the truth of God’s character.
Paul Arrives in Rome
After a along journey, Paul finally arrived in Rome (Acts 28:17–28). Here, Paul spoke to the local Jewish leaders. For an entire day, Paul tried to convince them that Jesus was the Savior by using the Law of Moses and the Prophets. Scripture tells us that some believed while others chose to reject the truth.
Paul was faithful in testifying to the gospel in Rome, and yet some still chose not to believe. This still happens today. Why? This can be extremely difficult to understand, especially when you are faithful and obedient to share the gospel with others. One thing we do know is that God is the One who changes hearts. Therefore, we only need to be faithful to the call of sharing the gospel and trust God with the outcome.
Oh God, help us to press on and trust You, even when we face rejection.
“Teaching About the Lord Jesus Christ”
At the very end of the book of Acts, we find our seventh update on the newly founded church. As Paul spent two years in Rome under house arrest, “he welcomed all who came to him, proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance” (Acts 28:30–31). This is the last we hear of Paul’s life in the Bible. We’ve watched this man, who had an enormous impact on the spread of the gospel and the growth of the early church, continue to boldly and unashamedly teach about Jesus even under house arrest. What a testimony! The church was growing and reaching all areas due to the work of the Spirit and committed followers of Christ. And this was only the beginning for the church.