Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Why Bother?

(Repost from 12/28/14--some passages in the New Testament are read more than once in the reading plan, thus may be restated on a given day)
Today’s Bible Reading:  Numbers 8-9, Acts 28
Topic: Evangelism

SCRIPTURE:  Acts 28:23-27

23 So when they had appointed him (Paul) a day, many (Jews) 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. 24 And some were persuaded by the things which were spoken, and some disbelieved. 25 So when they did not agree among themselves, they departed after Paul had said one word: “The Holy Spirit spoke rightly through Isaiah the prophet to our fathers, 26 saying,

      ‘ Go to this people and say:

      “ Hearing you will hear, and shall not understand;
      And seeing you will see, and not perceive;
       27 For the hearts of this people have grown dull.
      Their ears are hard of hearing,
      And their eyes they have closed,
      Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears,
      Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn,
      So that I should heal them.”’  (Acts 28:23-27 NKJV)


At this juncture of Paul’s life and ministry he is being held as a prisoner while awaiting his day in Rome and his appeal to Caesar.  The passage to Rome was a long and fateful voyage.  Paul and the company of people traveling with him suffered much hardship, adventure and shipwreck before finally reaching Rome.  Yet Paul, ever vigilant to his calling, never stopped teaching, preaching and persuading people to believe in Jesus.  Even after realizing his primary ministry was not to the Jews but to the Gentiles, he continually found himself in situations where he was proclaiming Christ to the Jews.  This was the case as we come to Acts 28:23 — Paul, now in Rome awaiting the day appointed for his hearing, is visited by many Jewish people to whom he proclaimed what he always did, the Gospel of Christ.  How did they respond?  Verse 24 tells us something very interesting; “some were persuaded” and “some disbelieved.”  Some who heard the truth fell into the category of those spoken of by the prophet Isaiah.  Hearing, they heard but did not understand.  Seeing, they saw but did not perceive.  They saw as with closed eyes and heard as though hard of hearing.

How frustrating it must have been for Paul. How could people not get it after he had labored “from morning till evening” to convince them of the truth and their need (v. 23)?

As Christians today with a clear calling to go and share the Gospel of Christ both near and far, we will experience the same results Paul did.  I find that things haven’t changed much today. I can share with people in good clear English and see only blank stares back – they are hearing but not receiving. It is like my words are only static over a poor telephone connection. Why do I bother? Why don’t I just give up? – Because of the first half of verse 24. While some just will not believe, I will faithfully continue to preach Christ because—some will be persuaded!


Lord, grant me the enlightenment of Your Holy Spirit that more people may understand through the static. I pray for those with blocked vision and stopped up hearing.  May their spiritual eyes and ears be healed.  And I thank You for those who hear with understanding and who see with clear perception.  May I be obedient to proclaim Your truth to all without discrimination, and trust You for the results.

Through Christ’s love. Amen.  -AP 

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