. . . And so we came to Rome. (Acts 28:14b ESV)
In the first chapter of the Book of Acts, Luke records the Lord Jesus proclaiming to his disciples that they will be his witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the ends of the earth. Now we come to the last chapter of the Book of Acts, where “The ends of the earth” has been reached with the gospel, just as Jesus had said.
However, it probably wasn’t what the disciples in chapter 1 thought it would look like. There are a few notable surprises.
First, the disciple who carried the gospel message to the “ends of the earth” was not present for Jesus’ declaration in chapter 1. He was too busy persecuting Christians at the time. The idea of Paul of Tarsus being the vessel through which the gospel would go to the ends of the world is quite shocking!
Second, “the ends of the earth” includes the entire world. In Acts 28, Paul brings the gospel to Rome, the capital of the most powerful empire in the world at the time. Precisely because Rome receives the gospel, the message can then go out to the rest of the world. From what we know of ancient history, Christianity, under persecution, would spread like fire throughout the Roman Empire.
Third, the way in which the gospel comes to Rome is astoundingly interesting: The Apostle Paul, the former Pharisaic persecutor of God’s people, lands in Rome on an Alexandrian ship with two prominent false gods on it, having been kindly sent by the native folks of Malta, after suffering a storm and shipwreck!
God is amazing.
And God will accomplish his purposes, in his way, in his timing.
The purpose of the Book of Acts is the gospel going forth to all the world – every creature, every nation! And you and I are recipients of this eternal blessing. The story of Paul in Acts 28 is our heritage and an epic conclusion to the journey of bringing hope to the nations that God has planned before the foundation of the world.