Day 61: Take Courage! (Acts 28:14b - 16)
Today’s Passage: Acts 28:14b-16
Sometimes it is good to catch your breath. To intentionally stop, pause, and take it in.
I tend to be a pretty goals oriented, driven person. You know, the kind that when I arrive at my destination, I barely take the time to enjoy it, and immediately start off towards the next item on MY agenda.
Not a good way to live.
The second half of verse 14 (14b) reads, “And so we came to Rome”.
I note the “we”. I have often been writing about Paul, but in various parts of the book of Acts, Luke is right there, going through many of the same challenges.
Why pause here? Consider Paul’s heart regarding Rome. We can easily find it. It is revealed in his own words in his letter to the Roman church, penned some years before this day of his arrival.
From Romans 1:8-15 (my emphasis added):
8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world. 9 For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I mention you 10 always in my prayers, asking that somehow by God's will I may now at last succeed in coming to you. 11 For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you— 12 that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other's faith, both yours and mine. 13 I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that I have often intended to come to you (but thus far have been prevented), in order that I may reap some harvest among you as well as among the rest of the Gentiles. 14 I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. 15 So I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome.
And now, after the long wait, he has arrived. The Letter to the Romans includes similar words about his longing to come (15:23), his hope to see them (15:24), etc.
That followers of Jesus were already in Rome has been a curiosity to some, but we know there were Romans in Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost. God works through many in accomplishing his work. It must have been a joy for Paul, after his arduous journey, to be greeted by brothers and sisters in Christ.
So here sits Paul, chained to a Roman guard, taking courage (you’ve got to think these fellas were told about Jesus).
I started by saying that it is good to stop and catch your breath. Sometimes that allows us to simply take in the moment, possibly a visual sight or a time with a friend. Other times it allows us to reflect. And that phrase, taking courage, is what caught my attention when I stopped and paused during the reading of this text.
What does that phrase mean to Paul, what does it mean to you, or to me?
I am thinking Paul has been trying to get to Rome for years now, and by God’s grace has made it, albeit in chains.
I can envision him looking ahead at what he will face, especially as he stands before Caesar. This time of reflection allows him, reminds him, of all God has done to bring him this far. That God will not forsake him—in all he takes courage.
When was the last time you simply sat with Jesus, just sat with him and reflected on all He has brought you through? Certainly He will not leave you nor forsake you. Take 3 minutes right now and give it a try.