Wednesday, 24 May 2023
So when they had appointed him a day, many came to him at his lodging, to whom he explained and solemnly testified of the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus from both the Law of Moses and the Prophets, from morning till evening.- Acts 28:23
God’s plan for Paul to come to Rome is seen in our reading today, though he had passed through tough times before reaching his destination. The many oppositions and hardships he suffered on the way to Rome did not dampen Paul’s spirits in any way. He was permitted to stay in a house with relative freedom, though with a guard, but it did not deter him from preaching the gospel at every given opportunity. We see him boldly speaking to Jews and Gentiles proving Christ to be the Messiah.
Paul’s expression to the Jews in Vs.17-20 helps us to understand the level of oppositions and challenges he was faced with. Many were stubborn-hearted to listen to the truth. Submitting our hearts and minds to the authority of the word of God goes far beyond ordinary listening. But they were dull of hearing. But in all of these situations, Paul was calm and willing to cope, open to questions, ready to defend the faith and present the Master’s voice.
In Paul’s life, it was a willing submission to what was spoken to him by the Lord Jesus in his encounter (Acts 9) that led to his divine commissioning. Once he accepted his call, Paul gave himself to the task entrusted to him, even though he went through hardships. Hearing and listening to the word of God produces faith, but willing submission to its truths prepares us for greater tasks. It is only when we wholeheartedly submit ourselves to God’s divine authority by upholding the truths of His Word, that we are set aside and commissioned for divine assignments though often coupled with opposing challenges.
God has a purpose for every moment in our lives and work with Him. He uses circumstances to mould our character. In fact, to make us like Jesus, He depends on the circumstances we go through, along with our reading and studying of His Word. In as much as our reading and studying the Bible is important, it is in bringing those truths alive in different situations that help us grow in Him. We are face to face with different circumstances twenty-four hours a day which gives ample opportunities to apply God’s principles.
Jesus warned us that we would have problems in the world. No one is immune to pain or insulated from suffering, and no one gets to skate through life, problem-free! As willing submission to the truths of His Word brings us much more closely and connected with the Lord, His will and purpose become our desired project! In all of these, our hope in difficult times is not based on positive thinking or natural optimism. It is certainly based on the truths that Jesus is Lord and God who is in full control of our universe, loves us so dearly. God’s plan for our lives involves all that happens to us, including our mistakes, sins, and hurts, etc. God can bring good out of the worst and wicked situation.
Often God uses the chisel of adversity to chip off our rough edges so that we can become jewels for His use. God is always happy to have his submissive vessels to go through the crucibles of life to earn the proceeds from the wisdom of such experiences. They become tools to mould us so that we become effective propagators of His truth. Then the message of our Lord Jesus Christ, His love for humanity and His finished work on the cross, captivate the whole fiber of our being in the liberation of souls to the glory of His name.
To Meditate: “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”-Romans 8:28