Hurts That Can Heal

Acts 28:16-31, NASB

Still a prisoner, but this time he was placed on house-arrest. One thing concerned him most – making amends with the opposition. These people had accused him of starting trouble and “turning the world upside down.” He saw his limited freedom as an opportunity to welcome his accusers into his home where he might speak openly with them about all that he suffered at the hands of their organization, and of how he was mis-represented. He hoped that they would hear him out. After being on house-arrest for three days he set up a meeting with the leaders of the organization responsible for his imprisonment. Surprisingly, they showed up. So, in they walked, one after the other. As a good host would do, Paul motions them to pull up a chair. With a bit of apprehension, one-by-one, they take their seats. Paul clears his throat and begins his speech.

“My Jewish brothers, I have done nothing against our people (the Jews). I have done nothing against the customs of our fathers. But I was arrested in Jerusalem and given to the Romans. 18 The Romans asked me many questions. But they could not find any reason why I should be killed. So they wanted to let me go free. 19 But the Jews there did not want that. So I had to ask {to come to Rome} to have my trial before Caesar. But I am not saying that my people (the Jews) have done anything wrong. 20 That is why I wanted to see you and talk with you. I am bound with this chain because I believe in the hope of Israel”        (Acts 28:17-20, ERV).

The Jews are shocked! They have no clue of what Paul is talking about. Nobody has ever told them anything about this man Paul. What does he mean, “The Jews did not want that? Want what – Him to be free? That is absurd!” At any rate, their interest is peaked. “Go on,” they say. “22 We want to hear your ideas. We know that people everywhere are speaking against this group (Christians)” (Acts 28: 22, ERV). Another meeting is set three days from this one. This is a set up!

Three days later, the same Jews return…with backup. The conversation begins with a single word which lasts “all day long.” It goes kind of like this:

“A long time ago God told the prophet Isaiah to go and tell our people, ‘You’re listening, but you don’t understand! You’re looking around and can’t see a thing! Bunch of numb-skulls. My words go in one ear and out the other. You resist the truth!”

To add insult to injury Paul tells them that they have missed out on the best deal of their lives. Because the Jews have refused the salvation of God, God reached out to the Gentiles – and they actually listened. Much to everyone’s surprise, some of the Jewish leaders believed Paul’s message and trusted in Jesus for their salvation, others walked out the same way they came in; one-by-one.

Every day we have an opportunity to be salt and light in this world. The hurts and harm that we have experienced at the hands of others can serve as cracks doors which allow the gospel to creep in. Like Paul, will you reach out to those who you do not see eye-to-eye with and show them the power, love and salvation of the God Whom you serve. Don’t let your pain push you back; let it move you forward in building relationships and being God’s ambassador in this world.

One thought on “Hurts That Can Heal

  1. “Don’t let your pain push you back; let it move you forward in building relationships and being God’s ambassador in this world.” Timely words for me to hear. Thank you, Tré.

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