“For two whole years Paul stayed there (Rome) 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, 2011).
What a way to end a book! No closure on the end of Paul’s life. No word about his proposed trip to Spain. Just a man under house arrest, boldly preaching from his living room without any interference. It’s what scholars call “a suspended ending,” a technique used among ancient playwrights in order to draw the audience fully into the story. So imagine yourself there with Paul, listening intently to the aging apostle speak about his travels, the beatings, being run out of synagogues, the stoning he endured in Lystra, facing wild beasts in Asia Minor, and all of it in order to spread the Good News of Jesus to as many people as he possibly could. Seems like a fitting ending to me. But in truth, the Story goes on, told and retold, as day by day and week by week more and more people show up in our Living Room - in person, online, by phone - wanting to hear some part of the Story again. Perhaps it sounds too good to be true, or maybe they just need a little more convincing. In either case, God, help us to speak up, boldly and without hindrance, just like Paul.
Be sure to listen in online this weekend as Efrem Smith returns to Northside to recap the message of Acts!