After he said this, the Jews left, arguing vigorously among themselves. For two whole years Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him. He proclaimed the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ—with all boldness and without hindrance! (Acts 28:29-31)
During COVID, before being vaccinated, many of us didn’t leave home. At the time, my husband and I lived in Marianna, and I had to pick up groceries because no store delivered them. Besides seeing family, I didn’t attend an in-person social gathering for a year until my son married. I know many people who didn’t leave their homes for almost two years—that has to be a limit before craziness occurs.
We can all relate to the difficulties of Paul’s house arrest for two years, but he didn’t complain and was thankful he had many visitors with whom he could proclaim the gospel. During that time he wrote the New Testament letters to the Philippians, Ephesians, Colossians, and Philemon. Without Paul’s confinement, we wouldn’t have the benefit of those letters today. Paul was hindered but the gospel wasn’t.
Even though COVID has been a difficult period, especially for those whose loved ones died, most have benefitted in some way. I wrote more. My daughter left the hospitality industry and found a less stressful position. My other children’s workplaces have been more tolerant of working remotely.
Do we look for the positives in our life like Paul did and thank God, or do we continue to complain about our hindrances? Do we dislike Jewish people because they don’t want to hear about Jesus, or do we thank them for giving us their savior?
The book of Acts ends here. Most likely Paul was tried by the emperor and released at this point. His letter to Titus indicates he went back to Crete to visit Titus. Many Bible scholars think he went to Ephesus, Spain, and Britain before returning to Rome where he was arrested and thrown into the Mamertine prison which had awful conditions. (See 2 Titus.) History tells us that the guards took him out to the courtyard one day and cut off his head. I’m sure he’s happy in the presence of God, Jesus, and their Spirit. I hope you’ll join me for a series of devotions on Galatians.
Father, I praise you for the life of Paul and the bad circumstances he encountered that changed him, increased his faith, and enabled him to write much of the New Testament. Help me find joy in any situation as Paul did by knowing you’ll take my troubles and use them for good. Let me not complain and thank you for my blessings. In Jesus’ name, I pray, Amen.