Paul’s Great Meeting at Rome

Paul’s Great Meeting at Rome with Nero Part 3

What a privilege it would be to be invited to such a meeting. Paul, the greatest human apostle of all time, called his high and mighty Jewish brethren, to his “own hired house,” and read the right act for not obeying the teachings of the Law of Moses! Paul alludes to this provision of “LODGING.” This was pre-Judiastic, what was taught in Judaism, and carried on until the first half of this past century among our brethren. Mentioned when writing to Philemon (a good Jewish name) in Philemon 1:22. “But withal prepare me also a lodging: for I trust that through your prayers, I shall be given unto you.” Many do not appreciate what God had in mind for this room, the best room of the house, for traveling Jews. It not only provided them fellowship, it gave the the proper diet (for they ate with one of their own who would eat the food of the Jewish law), it showed the hospitality demanded of the Lord. The statement “foxes have holes and birds have nest; but the Son of Man has no where to lay His head” picks up a special meaning not often seen. When Lot had the “strangers” under his roof he showed that he felt personally responsible for them. Genesis 19:8 When Abraham sent his servant to find Rebekah for Isaac, arriving at her brother Laban’s house the scriptures teach: “And he said, Come in, thou blessed of the Lord; wherefore standest thou without? For I have prepared the house, and room for the camels. And the man came into the house and he ungirded his camels, and gave straw and provender for the camels, and water to wash his feet, and the men’s feet that were with him. And there was set meat before him to eat: but he said, I will not eat until I have told mine errand. “ Genesis 24:31-33 One of Job’s claims to integrity and honor was the same: “The stranger did not lodge in the street: but I opened my doors to the traveler.” Until the last half of this century, it was considered sinful to “put up the traveling evangelist” in a motel room; he was invited into the home of most well to do in the church and treated like a king, not a stranger!!
Paul had a lot to complain about and these Jews were rightfully put in their place. These men had handed Paul an insult that ignored the “right of the traveler.” Put on the defensive by their abuse of a fellow traveler, these uppity-ups were schooled in “entertaining strangers.” Hebrews 13:2 Maybe this is enough on this subject, but I just wanted you to see this was a common practice of decency from the beginning of time and they had ignored it, they allowed Paul to be turned over to a Roman soldier!! That covers verse 16 and 17.
When Paul called for the important Jews to come to his house, more came than were expected. You can see why, overcome with the love for souls, the apostle determines to win them to Christ. When assembled the gospel preacher had his audience.
Paul again declares innocence. As mentioned before, this put them at a disadvantage because some of those who had been thrown out of Rome had no doubt been guilty of subversion—they were Jews! Oh! the way our ears would have burned to hear this great apostle defend his Lord, not for 15 or 20 minutes but from morning til evening!! The subject—the Church of Christ. What greater to the liking of Paul than a discussion of the Lord’s bride. For all our 7th Day Adventist friends, notice Paul reasoned with them out of the law of Moses AND the prophets. One another occasion something like this happened and the Word said: “their hearts burned within them!!
He began with the Old Testament Scriptures. If you ever get an opportunity to speak to those who think themselves Jews, start and stay with the Old Testament. You will be wasting valuable time citing the New Testament. “Some believed” while “some did not believe.” The gospel was delivered. Paul had their blood off his hands. If you ever think the gospel should be preached and an invitation to obey left silent, look at this example!!
“Well spoke the Holy Spirit.” Again, for the Jehovah”s Witnesses, the Holy Spirit can both speak, deliver, and defend the truth better than anyone. Wonder how many of these knew there was such a being as the Holy Spirit? Wonder if they knew He gave the Old Testament scriptures to their prophets and Moses? Isaiah they knew, but the Holy Spirit was a New testament concept; “they had not so much as heard if there be such a Being as the Holy Spirit!” The problem with these men was not the speaker (for all you who blame yourself when the person is not converted), it is their HEART!!

Paul’s Great Meeting at Rome with Nero Part 2

Can you imagine meeting with the apostle Paul for 8 hours WITHOUT the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, just the knowledge he had gained from his being taught by that same Spirit!! The leader of the “sect everywhere spoken against” had called the “important” Jews in Rome on the carpet and would “read them the right act” for their treatment of a fellow member of their ancestry with credible credentials!! He, again, “withstood them to the face, for they were to be blamed” for the treatment of Paul when they had recently just received the same type treatment from Nero when he had run them out of Rome!! Whether they were falsely accused or no, Paul wanted them to emphatically know he was NOT and therefore did not deserve such treatment!! “men and brethren, though I have committed nothing against the people, or customs or our fathers, yet was I delivered prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans. Who, when they had examined me, would have let me go, because there was no cause of death in me. But when the Jews spake against it, I was constrained to appeal to Caesar; not that I had aught to accuse my nation of.” Acts28:17-19
How ridiculous it was for them to treat a fellow member of their nation, boycotting him to receive treatment so poorly. Worse, they did not even know of or about Paul, “we neither received letters out of Judea concerning thee, neither any of the brethren that came showed or spake any harm of thee.” Acts 28:21 “When we came to Rome, the centurion delivered the prisoners to the captain of the guard: but Paul was suffered to dwell by himself with a soldier that kept him.” Paul was insulted that men of such standing among the Jews would treat a member of their own nation in such fashion!! These men had not heard of Paul, but, they had heard of Christ and Christianity and were eager, like Herod was to see Jesus, to discuss this matter. They were not inviting them to their houses (they could not invite him to their synagogue, for Nero would not allow one to be built, there), but they did come in to his “hired house.” Whether they believed his message, one thing they had to believe, he was intensely sincere in defending himself against all the false causes of which he had been accused. If that said nothing, it did tell them he was doubly sincere in his belief. No, Paul was not in shackles but he was assigned to a certain soldier to await the meeting with Nero. What also made Paul a little indignant was that 3 days had passed and they had not inquired of him!!
That is the background, what is most important to you and I is the meeting from “morning til evening” There are not many occasion we might want to be the insect in the corner of the room, but this would have been one of them. Their attitude was typically Jewish. They indicted him by saying; “tell us of this sect, for we know it is everywhere spoken, against.” They had asked to hear of Christianity, he delivered. How many teachings in the law of Moses have we ever wondered about? How many statements of the prophets? Paul was not vindicating himself, excusing his situation and complaining about his poor treatment, Paul was busy “being about the Father’s business.” He was trying to convert these men to Christ, and no doubt did , some of them!!
The best and the brightest was imploring these of station and rank to give up that for which they had just suffered extradition. Notice: Paul “expounded and testified.” To expound is to set forth, expose, support with fact and conviction. Paul, got emotionally involved in his preaching. He never “put his listeners to sleep” boring them with nauseating facts about which they were not interested. “Testified,” this is not the word used most in denominational circles. This word means to affirm with conviction and emotion. Paul was after their souls, he knew who and what he was up against therefore he delivered his message to and with all the power of persuasion and factual information that was available. You and I have read some of his speeches, imagine the power and enthusiasm with which this was undertaken. The beauty of truth is never more seen than in controversy. Controversy and debate makes truth shine like no other vehicles. False teachers shy away from this type confrontation because they know the weaknesses of their positions will not stand up to investigation. Desperation, sometimes demands that a preacher use every bit of power and force available. Here, the apostle used it all. His concluding speech is recorded. It shows the desperation felt in his heart. He goes beyond the argument to emotion. He had souls to save and shows us how!! Some of us aught to read this and learn!!

Paul’s Great Meeting at Rome with Nero

We have a reference from the scribe Luke, concerning one meeting we all would have like to have attended, the great meeting at Rome. When the apostle Paul was shipped to prison from his run in with Felix, he came for his trial before Nero. Imagine, the greatest living human being coming in judgment before one of the most depraved!! Luke writes: “And it came to pass, that after three days Paul called the chief of the Jews together and when they were come together, he said unto them, ‘Men and brethren (no, this was not an interdenominational meeting of the denominational preachers in Rome called the Ministerial Association like some of our brethren), though I have committed nothing against the people (Israel), or customs of our fathers, yet was I delivered prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans.” Acts 28:17 Here, he set the terms of his defense and of the debate that would follow!!
We have a short account of a long conference which Paul had with the Jews at Rome about the Christian religion. The Jews appointed the time, a day was set for this dispute, and all parties concerned might have sufficient notice. Those Jews seemed well disposed to receive conviction and yet it did not prove that they were so inclined. It is probable that these Jews at Rome, being men of larger acquaintance with the world and more generally of rank and power even in Rome, were more free to inquire than the bigoted Jews at Jerusalem and would not have had to answer to anyone else for this gathering. Though they were so far prejudiced against “the sect that everywhere was spoken against,” they seemed willing to give it a hearing. Moses had said of this people: “the Lord has not given you a heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear…” Deuteronomy 29:4
Paul, with a great deal of expense and hazard, is brought prisoner to Rome, and when he has come nobody appears to prosecute him or lay anything to his charge; so he advances the situation by calling, at his own danger, those who were his qualified enemies. It was not long since, by an edict of Claudius Caesar, that all the Jews were banished from Rome, and kept out till his death; but in the five years since that time, many Jews had come again, regained the ground of influence they had lost (because of their abilities and financial connections in trade and commerce), and formed a little association of believers under the banner of the Mosaical Law. Although, they were never allowed (as far as we know) to build a synagogue in Rome or a public place of worship; these “chief of the Jews” were those of highest prominence among them. In interest of fairness, the victim most of the time does not call the victors to a summit! Their side had won the day, they had nothing to lose, only Paul was the prisoner. Paul wanted to “set things right” as we use to say at home, so no vicious rumors could get around town before Paul had unpacked his belongings!!
His opening remarks distinguish the fact that he was NOT guilty of the charges and had already been released of all charges which would bring death. He speaks to them respectively with respect, calls them men and brethren, and intimates that he expects to be treated by them both as a man and as a brother, and engages to treat them as such and to tell them nothing but the truth; for, says he “we are members one of another-or all of us are brethren.” Advancing his own innocency, and that he had not given any just occasion to mar the Jewish name or alter its standing; his own people would have no reason to afflict him or the ministry he was advancing-for they, too, had recently been run out of Rome! He also wanted them to to know that he was not intending to take advantage of their present distress by “piling on“!! After all, if anyone could join the blame game crew, it could have been Paul-nobody had thrown the Church of Christ out of Rome!! It was important for them to know that he had not advanced any position that would them to cause them to fear him as a Haman nor that he had imposed customs of the Jews upon the Gentiles, yet he seemed a little irritated that he had been delivered as a prisoner by the Jews at Jerusalem (although they would have murdered him had the Roman chief captain not stopped them)! Having already passed through four tribunals (the chief captain, Felix, Festus, and Agrippa), the only people that NOW condemned him were those who had never heard his defense; having often been tried, never denied, he was willing to be tried, again!! Conclusion: the only people that condemned him were the prejudiced-and there was no way to reason with prejudice, their minds were already made up. He had charged the Jews at Jerusalem and found them guilty!!