Day 62: When You Finally Arrive: What Do You Expect? (Acts 28:17–29)
Today’s Passage: Acts 28:17-29
Sometimes when you finally arrive at your destination, what you thought would be radically different is strangely familiar.
I travel quite a bit, and there are very unique things about different regions and countries. Food, language, dress, etc. There are also things very similar. When I see a mom or dad with their baby, or two young lovers walking hand-in-hand I see that people, and our hearts, are very similar.
So, Paul, after only three days, does what? He meets with the Jews. Sound familiar? All those cities he visited, what was step one? Answer: go to the synagogue. Now, because he is under arrest, they have to come to him. And they do.
Just to be clear. When he arrived, he was greeted by “brothers and sisters” and I take these to be followers of Jesus. Now he is meeting with the Jewish authorities. He explains why he is in chains, and while they have not heard about him and his situation—they have heard about “this sect” which “is spoken against everywhere.” (v.22)
Paul no doubt is going to have an uphill challenge. Yet he comes to them in chains to declare Jesus to them, Jesus who is the hope of Israel. (v.20).
The result is predictable—some believe, and some don’t.
Perhaps you were expecting some glorious happy ending. After all, Paul has spent much of his life serving God by proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ.
To expect a happy ending is to confuse being a Jesus follower with a Disney movie.
Following Jesus is not about everything working out the way we want it to in this life. Following Jesus is about being faithful, and trusting that even though the outcome is not what we want, because we trust God, we believe it is the best—even when it is hard.
Paul’s arrival at Rome is, in one way a destination, but in another way, the start (again) of sharing the Gospel.