Apostle Paul in Rome

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After three days of being a prisoner in Rome the Apostle Paul sent for the principal men among the Jews to his lodging, and endeavored to conciliate their feelings towards himself and the Gospel (Acts 28:17).

Paul showed that his enemies were guilty of this very appeal to the foreign power, that of Rome, of which he had himself been suspected. He had committed no offence against the holy nation, or the customs of their fathers, yet his enemies at Jerusalem had delivered him, one of their brethren, into the hands of the Romans. So unfounded were the accusations against Paul that even the Roman governor had been ready to liberate the prisoner but his Jewish enemies opposed it (Acts 28:17 - 20).

Their answer to this address was reassuring. They said that they had received no written communication from Judea concerning Apostle Paul, and that none of the brethren who had arrived from the East had spoken any evil of him. They further expressed a wish to hear from himself a statement of his religious sentiments, adding that the Christian sect was everywhere spoken against.

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The Jews in Rome told Paul, "We have neither received letters concerning you from Judea, nor have any of the brethren who have arrived reported anything or spoken evil of you. But we would like to hear from you and to know what you think, because we are indeed very aware that this sect is everywhere spoken against" (Acts 28:21 - 22, HBFV).

All these circumstances gave a favorable opening for the preaching of the Gospel and Paul hastened to take advantage of it. A day was fixed for a meeting at his own private lodging.


Fontana del Tritone in Rome
Fontana del Tritone in Rome
Gian Lorenzo Bernini, 1624 - 43

They came in great numbers at the appointed time. Then followed an impressive scene, like that at Troas (Acts 21), the Apostle pleading long and earnestly, bearing testimony concerning the kingdom of God, and endeavoring to persuade them by arguments drawn from their own Scriptures (Acts 28:23 - 24).

After Paul had a long and stormy discussion, the unbelieving portion of Jews departed but not until the apostle had warned them.

Well did the Holy Spirit speak by Isaiah the prophet to our fathers, Saying, 'Go to this people and say, "In hearing you shall hear, and in no way understand; and in seeing you shall see, but in no way perceive. For the heart of this people has grown fat, and their ears are dull of hearing . . ."'

Be it known to you, that the salvation of God has, therefore, been sent to the Gentiles; and they will hear (Acts 28:25 - 28, HBFV).

Paul sternly warned the Jews in Rome that they were bringing upon themselves that awful doom of judicial blindness which was denounced in their own Scriptures against obstinate unbelievers. The salvation they rejected, which God offered to them first (Romans 1:16) would be withdrawn and the inheritance they renounced would be given to the Gentiles.

A formal separation was now made between Paul, the Apostle of the Gentiles, and the Jews of Rome. They withdrew to dispute concerning the "sect" which was making such inroads on their prejudices (Acts 28:29). Paul remained in his own hired house, where the indulgence of Burrus permitted him to reside, instead of confining him within the walls of the Praetorian barrack.

Apostle Paul was allowed to receive all who came to him (Acts 28:30), and was permitted, without hinderance, to preach boldly the kingdom of God, and teach the things of the Lord Jesus Christ (verse 31).

Thus was fulfilled his long-cherished desire "to proclaim the Gospel to them that were in Rome also" (Romans 1:15). Thus ends the Apostolic History, so far as it has been directly revealed. Here the thread of sacred narrative, which we have followed so long, is suddenly broken. Our knowledge of the incidents of his residence in Rome, and of Paul's subsequent history, must be gathered almost exclusively from the letters of the Apostle himself.

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