Chapter Twenty-Eight — Part Three: The Book of Acts

By: Pastors Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne

Publish date: 06/04/2023

Foundation Scriptures:
Acts 28:17-24

1. Jewish Leaders at Rome.
a. Acts 28:17a NKJV — And it came to pass after three days that Paul called the leaders of the Jews together.
b. Claudius had banished all Jews from Rome, but in the five years since his death, many had returned to take advantage of business and trade.
c. But they were not allowed to have their own synagogue.
d. Many of them were wealthy and owners of land and estates.
e. Acts 28:17b-18 NKJV — So when they had come together, he said to them: “Men and brethren, though I have done nothing against our people or the customs of our fathers, yet I was delivered as a prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans, 18 who, when they had examined me, wanted to let me go, because there was no cause for putting me to death.
f. Paul called the Jewish elders and leaders together, to connect with them and clarify why he was a prisoner in Rome.
g. He made it clear that he had said and done nothing wrong against the Jewish nation.
h. Yet, they accused him and caused him to be taken prisoner by the Romans.
i. The Romans examined him and found him innocent of the charges.
j. They wanted to release him, but the Jews would not relent.
k. He graciously does not mention that they tried their best to murder him.
l. Acts 28:19 NKJV — But when the Jews spoke against it, I was compelled to appeal to Caesar, not that I had anything of which to accuse my nation.
m. He explained that he was placed in a position where he had no option but to appeal to Caesar.
n. He appealed to Caesar—not to accuse the Jews—but to vindicate himself.

2. The Hope of Israel.
a. Acts 28:20 NKJV — For this reason therefore I have called for you, to see you and speak with you, because for the hope of Israel I am bound with this chain.”
b. Jesus Christ is the Messiah—the Hope of Israel.
c. The Hope of Israel refers to the resurrection of the dead, to Israel’s Messianic hope of the restoration of the kingdom of David, and to the salvation of Israel.
d. The resurrection of the dead (Acts 23:6, 24:15,21, 26:7-8).
e. The Messianic hope of Israel in restoring the kingdom of David (Acts 13:34, 14:22, 15:13-17, 17:3,7,18, 18:5,28, 19:8, 20:25).
f. The salvation of Israel (Acts 13:38-39, 20:21, 26:6-7,18; Romans 9-11).
g. The Jews expected a Messiah Who would deliver them from the yoke of temporal bondage—the Roman authorities—but God gave them a Messiah that delivers from spiritual and eternal bondage.
h. Acts 28:21 NKJV — Then they said to him, “We neither received letters from Judea concerning you, nor have any of the brethren who came reported or spoken any evil of you.
i. Fortunately for Paul, the Jews in Jerusalem had not sent accusing letters nor representatives to the Jews in Rome.
j. They knew full well that they had no legitimate case to bring before Caesar.
k. All those who came with Paul were those who were for him, and everything he taught was supported by the Law and the Prophets.
l. Acts 28:22 NKJV — But we desire to hear from you what you think; for concerning this sect, we know that it is spoken against everywhere.”
m. They wanted to know Paul’s opinion, because they thought of Christianity as just another man-made sect.
n. They were aware that there were many who criticized and even vilified Christians and Christianity.
o. According to Justin Martyr, there were Jews who cursed Christians in their synagogues, and sent men around the world to poison other Jews against Christians everywhere.
p. Sadly, in areas where people have not heard nor believed the Gospel, they are prone to believe any negative thing others say.
q. Even though the Jews came skeptically, this was Paul’s opportunity to present the Truth of the Gospel to them.

3. Preaching to the Jews.
a. Acts 28:23 AMPC — So when they had set a day with him, they came in large numbers to his lodging. And he fully set forth and explained the matter to them from morning until night, testifying to the kingdom of God and trying to persuade them concerning Jesus both from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets.
b. Since he was not allowed to leave his lodgings, they set up a future appointment to meet with and hear from him there.
c. On the appointed day, there was a very large group who came.
d. Paul began to expound (set forth; declare; explain) the scriptures and testified of, and bore witness to, of the Kingdom of God.
e. He spent the whole day, from morning till night, taking his time to fully expound to them the Gospel.
f. This might be his only opportunity to preach to many of them.
g. He proved the veracity of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ by means of the scriptures.
h. He expounded and revealed to them God’s plan of salvation through Jesus Christ, as revealed in the Law and the Prophets.
i. As he had done before, he also testified of Jesus—sharing his own experience from his encounters with Jesus—and what the Spirit of God did, in and through him.
j. Acts 28:24 NKJV — And some were persuaded by the things which were spoken, and some disbelieved.
k. As usual, some were open to Truth and were persuaded, and others refused to accept his message.
l. One of the problems with the Jews was that they had a fixed, though mistaken, opinion of what the coming Kingdom of God should look like.
m. They could not even agree amongst themselves, a fulfillment of Jesus’ words that people would be divided over Him—not because He caused it, but because many would refuse to believe (Matthew 10:34-36; 2 Corinthians 2:15-17).