This was the last recorded “trial” of Paul, and interestingly, Luke also spared a few lines about two more years of Paul’s residence in Rome.
From a modern perspective, the only most interesting court trial to read about was Atticus Finch’s defense in the second act of To Kill a Mockingbird. However, Paul may be tried for blasphemy and allegedly inciting a public riot, but he turned the tables around on the Jewish and Roman authorities —
He spoke of Jesus Christ.
(…) From morning till evening he expounded to them, testifying to the kingdom of God and trying to convince them about Jesus both from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets. And some were convinced by what he said, but others disbelieved.
— Acts 28:23-24
Paul then quotes the prophet Isaiah — who in turn was quoting God Himself. Needless to say, it was quite a slap in the face to the Jewish authorities then 😤🔥, as they know their Pentateuch cover to cover:
(…) “Go, and say to this people:
“‘Keep on hearing, but do not understand;
keep on seeing, but do not perceive.’
Make the heart of this people dull,
and their ears heavy,
and blind their eyes;
lest they see with their eyes,
and hear with their ears,
and understand with their hearts,
and turn and be healed.”
— Isaiah 6:9-10
I just wanted to point out that Paul never twisted anyone’s arm. Jesus never did that, either. Paul just went out in boldness, telling those willing to hear about the saving sacrifice of Jesus, and how He defeated sin and death when He rose from the dead.
God is not after converts. He is after a relationship. Several times in scripture, Jesus did not spare the harsh words and expectations from those who wished to follow Him. Following Jesus, means also following in both His comfort and His suffering — as a bride would do for her groom, a favorite metaphor for many of the Bible’s writers.
Paul, of course, was not one to stop at trials and tribunals to speak of God’s love — he was sent to Rome for speaking at public spaces, after all! And even in his home, he welcomed people wishing to learn more about Jesus. Through his boldness and that of the generations of believers, we can enjoy the goodness of the Lord, and rest in the assurance of how we are loved and cared for by none other than the most powerful force we will ever know.
This wraps up my three-part Bible study notes on Acts 28. It’s by no means definitive, but if it’s something that gets you started on your Bible study, or if it has helped you in some way, then I’m just glad to share my thoughts. Feel free to share your insights as well!
Until next week, where I’ll be starting another three-part series: Dare to Believe — a series that I started as part of the three-day, mid-year corporate prayer and fasting. It’s been a long time coming anyway 🙂 .