Monday, November 19, 2012

On 11-25-12, Acts 28:16, 17, 23-31 or Acts 28:23-31will be our Adult Sunday School/Uniform Series/International Sunday School Lesson, herein is my commentary. This lesson is known by some as Paul Evangelizes in Rome.

Paul Evangelizes in Rome
 Acts 28:16, 17, 23-31 or Acts 28:23-31
International Sunday School Lesson
November 25, 2012

Jed Greenough

From the scripture for today, do you see failure?  One would think because of Paul’s reaction that he was unsuccessful in winning any new converts to the Way.  In fact it is hard not to think that when you read the quote from Isaiah that Paul like Jesus uses but I see frustration.
I personally do not want you to come away with the idea that Paul was unsuccessful.  Our scripture for today remarkably says that Paul preached or taught from morning until evening.  It seems clear that in our preceding verses these Jewish people were very tolerant and eager to hear Paul.
One could read these verses and either think that people came and stayed all day and then left with some having been convinced.  Or one could think that these people came and went from morning until evening and Paul taught them all which is where I think I am inclined to stand.
Regardless, I see a great victory for the kingdom and what was being accomplished was exactly what God intended.
When Paul got to Rome he was given relative freedom through a type of house arrest rather than being thrown into some dungeon.  From here he was able to make a call out to the Jewish leaders of the city in 28:17.  And when they arrived the turnout was greater than expected as we read in verse 23.
Some were convinced (verse 24) by what he had to say and again I see this as a great victory but Paul in his ambition wanted to convert them all and have them convert all that they had influence with and soon all of Rome would be Christian.
This zeal perhaps led him to error or perhaps the disagreement among the Jews there was too intense.  Perhaps Paul could tell due his prior experiences that no more would be convinced.  Regardless, they were still there and it wasn’t until Paul made his final statement concerning them when he quoted Isaiah that they began to leave his presence.
I can’t know that Paul wasn’t under guidance of the Holy Spirit and this final statement may have been wholly true concerning those who were unconvinced.  Or Paul may have shut down any chance of further communication because a frustrated and tired Paul made a comment that offended.  What do you think?
Paul is my hero but I know he wasn’t perfect as only Christ is perfect.  But even if I am wrong on which side of the question I come down on I think I will stand on the side that would say it would be a little easier to have a chance of converting them tomorrow if you don’t offend them today.
In any case, in the end, this day and this time for Paul in Rome was a victory, “Boldly and without hindrance he preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.” verse 31 

For Discussion:

1.      It is theorized that besides preaching Paul also wrote Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and Philemon during this time in Rome.
2.      Discuss Paul’s form of imprisonment.
3.      Discuss how many times or the situation in which you have either discussed the gospel or heard the gospel discussed from morning till evening.  Have you?
4.      Discuss how Paul was received by these Jews.
5.      Discuss how they reacted.
6.      Discuss Paul’s reaction.

Upcoming Adult Sunday School Class Commentaries

12-2-12:   Blessed in Christ aka Spiritual Blessings in Jesus Christ Ephesians 1:3-14
12-9-12:   One in Jesus Christ Ephesians 2:11-22
12-16-12: Part of One Body in Christ aka Unity in the Body of Christ Ephesians 4:1-16
12-23-12: Alive in the Light of Christ aka Live in the Light John 1:1-5, 14; Ephesians 5:1, 2, 6-14

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 Biblica. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved

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