“When they had set a day for Paul, they came to him at his lodging in large numbers; and he was explaining to them by solemnly testifying about the kingdom of God and trying to persuade them concerning Jesus, from both the Law of Moses and from the Prophets, from morning until evening. Some were being persuaded by the things spoken, but others would not believe. And when they did not agree with one another, they began leaving after Paul had spoken one parting word, "The Holy Spirit rightly spoke through Isaiah the prophet to your fathers, saying, 'GO TO THIS PEOPLE AND SAY, "YOU WILL KEEP ON HEARING, BUT WILL NOT UNDERSTAND; AND YOU WILL KEEP ON SEEING, BUT WILL NOT PERCEIVE; FOR THE HEART OF THIS PEOPLE HAS BECOME DULL, AND WITH THEIR EARS THEY SCARCELY HEAR, AND THEY HAVE CLOSED THEIR EYES; OTHERWISE THEY MIGHT SEE WITH THEIR EYES, AND HEAR WITH THEIR EARS, AND UNDERSTAND WITH THEIR HEART AND RETURN, AND I WOULD HEAL THEM."' Therefore let it be known to you that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will also listen." [ When he had spoken these words, the Jews departed, having a great dispute among themselves.] And he stayed two full years in his own rented quarters and was welcoming all who came to him, preaching the kingdom of God and teaching concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with all openness, unhindered.”
The Jewish people who wanted to hear more about this man named Jesus came to Paul's residence to hear him explain from the law of Moses and the Old Testament prophets how Jesus was, indeed, the Messiah (Christ). Some believed and accepted Jesus as the Messiah while others rejected and argued against this teaching. I can imagine how frustrating it must have been for Paul because it was abundantly clear from scripture that Jesus had fulfilled the prophecies. Although the scriptures are clear concerning Jesus as the Christ, blindness still prevents people in both the church and the world from accepting Jesus as well (see 2 Corinthians 4:4). When Paul saw that part of the people did not accept the truth, he recited a text from Isaiah 6:9-10. They heard physically but not spiritually, saw physically but not spiritually, and had hard hearts. How many, today, are doing the same thing?
Paul lived in his own rented residence in Rome for two years, teaching about Jesus to all who came. He was allowed to do this without any disturbance. It must have been refreshing to him since he had endured so much.
Just a note: Paul did die at Rome. It is uncertain as to what year he was killed. Likely somewhere between 64-68
A. D. under Nero the Emporer. Some suggest that he was killed by order of Nero's prefects (chief officers and/or magistrates). It is widely believed that he was put to death by beheading. Can you imagine Paul, as he was being positioned to be beheaded, saying with absolute confidence
“For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.”
2 Timothy 1:12 KJV
“For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.”
2 Timothy 4:6-8 KJV
What an example of a disciple of Jesus Christ! Imagine how much life would be different without the God given contribution through the life of the Apostle Paul. He was used by the Holy Spirit to write 13 of the 27 books of the New Testament (Romans - Philemon). He was indeed, an extraordinary man of faith.
Let's carry on our God given responsibility of carrying this gospel forward! I'm enlisted. Are you?
Rev. Curtis Norris