Read: Acts 28:11-31
“The only thing we know about this movement is that it is denounced everywhere.” Acts 28:22
Paul travels to Rome as a prisoner… spreading the good news of Jesus everywhere he goes. He will not be stopped by opposition, trials or difficulties. He’s the energizer bunny of evangelists. He just keeps on going and going and going.
It’s interesting to me that the Jews of Jerusalem wanted to hear more for themselves about this Jesus movement in spite of the fact that everything they had heard to this point was negative. There was a church already established in Rome, so they would have had a chance to witness the different way that Christians lived, but now with Paul in town they were ready to hear more.
This situation makes me think of the current situation in Iraq and Syria with ISIS and the persecution of Christians there. In the midst of the reports of horrific persecution, we are hearing reports of Muslims converting to Christianity as they witness the response of the believers to the persecution. All their lives the only thing they have know about “this movement” (Christianity) is that it was denounced everywhere.
Yet they are curious about this different kind of people who don’t return evil for evil, who value their faith more than their lives, and who love in the face of persecution.
Just as in the first century, today Christianity faces persecution, slander, and opposition. And just as in the first century God is using it to open the minds and hearts of the lost to His amazing grace. The world changed radically and in many ways Rome was the epicenter of that global transformation.
I know that God will use this current strife to spread His gospel and transform the world again. The question is, are we “All In” to be the energizer bunnies of evangelism? To, like Paul, just keep going and going and going in making sure the good news is proclaimed. To keep going in returning love for evil and in valuing our faith more than our lives.
Father – help me to live more for you than for me. Help me to see my life as part of your bigger plan and to live for you first. Bring your kingdom to this broken world, and help me to play my part in your kingdom coming. In Jesus powerful name, amen.