February 27 - Acts 28
FRIENDLY BARBARIANS: The friendly people that rescue Paul and his shipmates on the island of Malta were neither Jewish, Greek or Romans. They were known as Barbarians. At the time, this was not considered a pejorative term the way it is now, but it's just one more example of how the Spirit has used all sorts of experiences - even shipwrecks - to make it possible for Paul to preach the gospel to all people.
COOL HAND LUKE: We've noticed in our reading this year that Luke has a very understated, dry sense of humor. This comes out again at the end of v14: 'And so we came to Rome.' This has been Paul's goal for years, and even though they had to go through trials, beatings, shipwrecks and poisonous snakes, God was faithful and kept His promise. You'd think Luke would have made a bigger deal about that... maybe quoted a Psalm or insert a short doxology or something. But no, just one little line announcing it matter of factly. The Holy Spirit uses and relies the personalities of the human writer to convey His message.
PAUL WHO? The Jews in Rome had never heard of Paul (v21). I wonder if this left Paul relieved, surprised or maybe even a little disappointed?
ULTIMATE TRAGEDY: This book finishes with Paul quoting Isaiah 6:9-10 (this is worth looking up and reading the entire context). Isn't it sad how as people we can be so blind and stubborn? The Jews' zealousness for keeping God's Law kept them from receiving God's salvation.
ANOTHER UNRESOLVED ENDING: We have a hundred questions about what happens to Paul after he gets to Rome. Luke answers about 1-1/2 of those questions. How did his trial turn out? Did he make it to Spain? What was the Roman church like? Just like our last book, Mark, ended unexpectedly, Acts does as well. Although Paul has been the hero of Acts from a literary perspective, the book has not been about Paul, so what ends up happening to him doesn't really matter. The book as been Luke's carefully investigated report to Theophilus about how the Holy Spirit has been at work spreading the gospel to the ends of the earth. As members of this holy, catholic church, you and I are experiencing the ongoing story Luke began in the book of Acts.
Listen to the sermon on Training Yourself To Use Your Spiritual Gifts
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: He is the God who cares for His people and will heal them (v27). Thank Him that He has turned your heart to Him.
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Thank God that you are part of the ongoing book of Acts and ask Him to use you as He used these early apostles and evangelists.
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: