Tragedy, calamity, betrayal, struggle, slander, and all the other difficulties we face in our lives are an important part of the complex tapestry that is God’s grand plan for our existence here in this world. The life of the Apostle Paul is characterized by each and every one of the above listed negative traits; however, he never lost hope or wavered in the slightest in his faith. Anointed by God to spread the Gospel, you would expect Paul to have an unencumbered life of spiritual protection. This was not the case. God gave Paul a life full of challenging circumstances. We should praise God for providing us with a challenging life – a life in which we have every opportunity to grow in knowledge and wisdom; a life that will prepare us for the finale in God’s grand plan.
In chapter twenty-seven of the Book of Acts, we are told the story of the Apostle Paul’s horrific ocean journey to Rome. After battling an enormous storm it looks as though all is lost; however, they eventually end up shipwrecked on a sandbar close enough to shore that everyone can swim to safety. Then in chapter twenty-eight, the final chapter of the Book of Acts, Paul is placed under house arrest in Rome where he is able to entertain guests and preach the gospel to Jews and Gentiles.
The story told in the Book of Acts is that of the Kingdom of God coming to earth through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Empowered by the Holy Spirit, the disciples of Jesus are sent out into all the world to spread the good news in word and in action. As a result, diverse Jesus communities were formed where all were treated equally as they gave allegiance to King Jesus and worked together to live by His teachings, trusting in the guidance of the Holy Spirit to point the way forward.
The Apostle Paul remained under house arrest in Rome for two years before being released. In that time, he did much to advance Christianity in Rome. He also penned the four epistles – Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon. While Paul’s journey to Rome was a long and difficult one, it is clear it was all part of God’s grand plan.
“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 28:30-31 (NIV)
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