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Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Day 91: Acts 28:23-31 & Prov. 29:10-18 - Why Does the Book of Acts End the Way It Does?

Today's Reading: Acts 28:23-31 & Prov. 29:10-18

"Therefore let it be known to you that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will listen.”

He lived there two whole years at his own expense, and welcomed all who came to him, proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance. - Acts 28:29-31, ESV

Why Does the Book of Acts End the Way It Does?

The book of Acts ends in a way that leaves many people scratching their heads. The ending seems abrupt and somewhat unresolved. Paul is under house arrest in Rome. He is neither set free nor is he executed, although both would happen to Paul after the ending of Acts, So, why end the book with such an apparently unresolved and un-final ending?

1. Once he arrives safely in Rome, Paul's apostolic mission is complete. "All roads lead to Rome." He has taken the Gospel to the capital of the empire, and from here it can reach the ends of the earth. This is the fulfillment of the charge Jesus gave His disciples before He ascended: "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8, ESV)

2. Luke is emphasizing the fact that the Gospel remains always unhindered. Though Paul is in chains, kept under house arrest and chained to a guard, he is able to preach the Gospel "with all boldness and without hindrance."

3. The Gospel kingdom of Jesus is passing from the Jewish people to the Gentiles. We have seen the Jewish people reject Jesus again and again throughout Acts. The book thus ends with one more, final rejection. Paul's final words in Acts are " . . . that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will listen.”

4. The open-ended nature of the book is an indication that the story of the Gospel's unhindered advance continues. It is an invitation to see the Gospel continue to advance, unhindered, to all the nations.

So, upon closer consideration, we can see that the ending of Acts is not abrupt or incomplete, but it is perfectly crafted to bring this marvelous book to an open close, an intentionally unresolved resolution.

Heavenly Father, we thank You for the Gospel and for the blessings of the kingdom of Your Son. May we be as bold as Paul and proclaim the Gospel unhindered by whatever opposition we may face in this world. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Prayer Based on Proverbs 29:10-18:

Bloodthirsty men hate one who is blameless
    and seek the life of the upright.
A fool gives full vent to his spirit,
    but a wise man quietly holds it back.
If a ruler listens to falsehood,
    all his officials will be wicked.
The poor man and the oppressor meet together;
    the Lord gives light to the eyes of both.
If a king faithfully judges the poor,
    his throne will be established forever.
The rod and reproof give wisdom,
    but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.
When the wicked increase, transgression increases,
    but the righteous will look upon their downfall.
Discipline your son, and he will give you rest;
    he will give delight to your heart.
Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint,
    but blessed is he who keeps the law.

Father, we live in a world of violence and foolishness. Lord, give our leaders wisdom and good counsel. May they be guided by truth and not by lies. Give our leaders and commitment to faithfully judge the poor. We know that our King Jesus always judges justly and always does what is right. Give us more of the wisdom of Christ in our land, in our homes and in our lives. In Jesus' name, Amen.

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