Shut-In But Not Silenced

Wendy Pope

Day: 30 | Plan: Acts

Today's Reading: Acts 28

Acts 28:30-31 (NIV) “For two whole years Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him. He proclaimed the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ—with all boldness and without hindrance!”

This is not the first time we read about a long period of incarceration for Paul. He took a hard stance on his innocence, appealing to Caesar, as he stood before Festus and Felix. (Acts 25:11) Paul finally arrived in Rome but never appeared before Caesar. For the rest of his life, Paul would remain under house arrest, with restricted freedoms, innocent of any charges, with guards outside his door.

I’m so thankful for the example Paul sets for us. A life like this would cause many to cower and retreat into their own world, but not Paul. His faith remained strong and rather than retreating within, he reached out with the gospel to anyone who would listen. Scripture tells us three days after he was settled, he sent for the Jewish leaders. He wanted to fellowship and get to know them.

These leaders—along with many other Jewish people—came to Paul’s private quarters to hear about the kingdom of God. Paul taught the scriptures all night. Some believed and some did not.

So Paul was in prison and preached the gospel. Where’s our lesson? What’s our takeaway?

Paul was in prison. While in prison Paul preached the gospel. This is our lesson. Paul didn’t demand for his sentence to be overturned even though he always knew in his heart he wasn’t guilty. He didn’t muscle or strong-arm the guards, but showed them only respect. We see no record of Paul ever petitioning to be taken before Caesar while he was in prison. Paul continued to do what he had always done. He was shut-in but he was not silenced. We shouldn’t be silent either.

Sometimes life doesn’t turn out exactly like we thought it would. I’m quite certain Paul didn’t foresee a life behind bars. There are all manner of prisons we might find ourselves in, prison without bars, without chains. Maybe prisons of addiction, abuse, financial bondage or even grief. Regardless of our circumstances God is still God and there are people in need of His love, grace and mercy. We can’t be silent.

Prayer: Lord, I want the courage and tenacity of Paul. He was relentless in sharing the gospel. Give me the boldness to share Your love no matter where I am or who I am with. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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