Acts 28: 30 “For two whole years Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him.”
It would have made for a nice ending if Luke had waited for the trial to commence and that Paul was released. We all love a happy ending.
We don’t have that. We simply have a further 2 years of Paul being chained to a guard, making it a 4 year term in total.
He is in a rented house paid for by either himself or probably the church have been raising the money. Don’t think it is some sweet suburban house with a garden etc. It was probably a small apartment in a densely crowded Roman slum.
So here we are at the end of Acts. The rise of the Church, revivals, miracles, mission journeys across the nations and it ends here, chained for 4 years and now in a home that is not much to look at sits an extraordinary man who welcomes all who came to see him.
Maybe we are disappointed. But maybe the reality encourages us.
The Church that you belong to may have constraints, it may not have the freedom you desire and it may not be the prettiest to look at, but it is welcoming. And who does it welcome? It welcomes all.
The 19th hymn declares:
“Whosoever heareth!” shout, shout the sound! Send the blessed tidings all the world around; Spread the joyful news wherever man is found: “Whosoever will may come!”
May we continue to welcome the whosoever no matter our circumstance.