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!!