Paul's Address to the Jews At Rome
Acts 28:23-28
And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into his lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God…

1. Paul had not to make a personal defence, as at Jerusalem and Caesarea. He had to speak of the hope of Israel. It was a subject which had occupied his thoughts for many years, and which he had thoroughly mastered. So he entered on a full exposition of the writings to which all his hearers attached sacred authority.

2. But we find to our regret that St. Luke has not reported the address, just as he has left our Lord's on the same subject unreported (Luke 24:27, 44-46.) This seems to indicate that God did not wish His Church to be furnished once for all with an authorised interpretation of Scripture which should supersede study of the holy oracles by successive generations of Christian scholars. This consideration bears severely on the claim of authority which is made for the voice of tradition and of the Church as entitled to fix the sense of Holy Writ. If it was right to deprive the early Church of any exposition of the Old Testament which was delivered by the Lord Jesus, or by St. Paul, how can it be maintained that an authorised interpretation is good and necessary now? So saying, we do not disparage all traditional interpretation or deny the respect due to Christian antiquity. But neither ancient fathers nor modern clergy have a right to claim such authority for their expositions.

3. Though we have not St. Paul's speech, we know the great themes on which he spoke while supporting all his statements from Moses and the prophets.

I. HE "TESTIFIED THE KINGDOM OF GOD" now and during the "two whole years" of his imprisonment.

1. He was at Rome, the seat of empire. But the spirit of the apostle occupied itself far more with thoughts of a greater kingdom — one which makes very little of the things on which the Roman Empire rested, but very much of "righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost." Caesar's kingdom was soon to dwindle, but the kingdom of God was to extend to "regions Caesar never knew." It was easy for St. Paul to show to his Jewish audience that the prophets had foretold such a kingdom — a reign of God over men, not in little Palestine only, but in every region under heaven.

2. This kingdom the apostle testified and preached. He announced that already it was among men.

II. HE PERSUADED HIS HEARERS "CONCERNING JESUS," and we can easily conjecture the course which the apostle followed. He showed from the Scriptures, as at other times, that the Messiah was destined to be rejected and slain, and thereafter to be raised from the dead. Then he told how all this was fulfilled in Jesus, who was consequently exalted as Lord and Christ. So the earnest apostle taught the livelong day in that primitive St. Paul's cathedral — "his own hired house"; and the day's labour was not in vain. Some of the Jews were persuaded, and cast in their lot with the Christians. But some were not convinced; and in the evening the assembly broke up with discordant views and feelings, not, however, before the apostle pronounced a heavy reproof on the blindness of the Jews, recognising that Israel was surpassing all its former inveteracy by closing its eyes and hardening its heart against the gospel of Christ. The woe he pronounced on his nation has now lasted more than eighteen hundred years. So far as Judaism is religious now, it is a dry, sapless thing, pervaded by a tone of monotony and melancholy, with no power or desire to propagate itself. But, to a large extent, it is an irreligious and unspiritual thing in the modern world — its heart made gross by worldliness, and its influence closely allied with the growth of rationalism. A sad sight this after St: Paul's all-day teaching — hearers going hardened away! A rather mournful close to our study of the apostolic speeches! But it really is a sight which too probably the angels see at the close of every public discourse on the truth of the gospel.

(D. Fraser, D. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into his lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening.

WEB: When they had appointed him a day, many people came to him at his lodging. He explained to them, testifying about the Kingdom of God, and persuading them concerning Jesus, both from the law of Moses and from the prophets, from morning until evening.

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