The earliest Christians followed a Jewish tradition of pausing to pray, preferably together, first thing in the morning, about mid morning, at noon, about mid afternoon, and in the evening. “Just a Note” posts are brief observations made from Scripture readings not related to a lectionary. If I have one to post, it normally appears about 9:00 in the morning, at “the hour of prayer.”
The book of Acts closes rather abruptly. The apostle Paul has concluded that he will primarily bring the Gospel to Gentiles. He is in Rome where he is a prisoner. However, he remains in Rome for two years in a home which he rents, under arrest of some sort, preaching the Gospel freely to all who will hear.
Did Paul enjoy being a prisoner? Probably not, at least in some ways. However, he is depicted has having considerably freedom. There was likely a guard assigned to him at all times. It was certainly not a difficult or dangerous bit of guard duty.
There are many suggestions in early Christian history that the Gospel was brought to distant places, including Britain, by soldiers who were converted by hearing the Gospel while on duty in Rome. This is certainly plausible. The hope of the Gospel is for all nations.
As we have walked through the book of Acts paragraph by paragraph, we’ve seen that the spread of the Gospel is certainly a supernatural thing. This is the work of the Holy Spirit. Yet time after time the Lord uses human agents. He raises up people, often the people we wouldn’t expect to be used by him, in places which seem unlikely, to bring the message of redemption and hope to all nations. Jesus is the same redeemer regardless of your ethnicity, your economic standing, your profession, or sex. We are left at the end of the book with an unfinished story. It is unfinished because it is not about Peter or Paul or any other of God’s human agents. It’s about the work of the Holy Spirit which is continuing to this day.
I’ve enjoyed walking through Acts. My plan, a rather dull and uninspired plan, is to continue this journey by walking through Paul’s letter to the Romans. Why? Because it begins on the next page of my Greek New Testament. That’s a good enough reason for me.
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