This underscores our importance to others. We’re so close to the end. The time of judgment is getting ready to break. It presses us with a more fervent spirit to share the gospel. Paul knew he didn’t have much longer to live. We don’t have long. It’s shorter than we figure. Paul didn’t just hang up his hat; he went all the way for God. He didn’t let a day go by without sharing Jesus.
Acts 28:20 For this cause therefore have I called for you, to see you, and to speak with you: because that for the hope of Israel I am bound with this chain.
This is a good determination to have. When we were saved we were yoked to Jesus Christ. Paul was in chains and unashamed. Most of his life was under some type of persecution but it didn’t stop him.
Paul was bound with chains under house arrest. He called for Jews in Rome to come to him so he could explain why he was there. He had been falsely accused by Jews in Jerusalem and had appealed to Caesar. He wanted them to know that he had done no wrong. He still had a burden for Jewish people. It was for the hope of Israel that he was chained. Even though many had been on missionary journeys and churches had been started, Paul still had a burden for the Jews. There were Jewish Christians but not as many as there were Gentiles. The Jewish nation as a whole rejected Jesus Christ. The religious Jews refused to accept Jesus. Even though they followed the Old Testament they rejected the coming of God’s son, the fulfilling of the Law. There were lost. His heart went out to them. Everyone, regardless of their background, can be saved.
What would have happened when Paul preached at Jerusalem if most of them had believed? It was up to each individual. They shut God out. He didn’t shut them out. If Jews had accepted Jesus he would have used them as the channel of the gospel. They would have been the leading nation for spreading the gospel. There are many Jewish Christians, but the nation still hasn’t accepted Jesus. America used to be the leading Christian nation, but we’re not now. Israel could have had that chance. People can still be saved. Prodigal sons and daughters can still come home.
As hopeless as Rome was, Paul was unmoved by the idolatry. For the hope of their salvation he was bound with chains. Verse 22 says but we desire to hear of thee what thou thinkest: for as concerning this sect, we know that everywhere it is spoken against. They had not been exposed to Christianity firsthand, so they called it a sect. They saw people being changed. While other religions produced no change, Christianity did. They wanted to hear what a real Christian had to say. Lost people are surrounded by the gods of this world, but there is still a desire to see a real Christian and hear what he has to say. You hear the word hypocrite a lot and sadly there is ammunition for it. There are those claiming to be Christians who are not. There is still only one way. Let’s be people who won’t be called a hypocrite. Seeing the chains shows them, the chain of burden for others, the chain of love of God, and the chain of being faithful. Our dedication to being the person God called us to be, being conformed to the Spirit of God and not the world will be seen. This is not a chain of misery. It will never be a wrong decision to be chained to the cross. Paul was glad to wear it.
The Jews in Rome could tell Paul had something. The Roman guards who looked after him heard him preach day in and day out. Can we have that kind of influence? If we chain ourselves to God as tightly as Paul did we can. The devil, the world, Rome couldn’t break the chain, and Paul would not unchain himself.
And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him, Preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man forbidding him. Continuing two more years in the chains he preached and taught about Jesus Christ. Church history tells us Paul’s death brought many to salvation.
There is hope for all. Let’s bind ourselves to God. Think about what could happen.