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May 14, 2020

Hopeful Conclusion

      Paul lived in Rome for two whole years. The Book of Acts concluded  its twenty-eight chapters with the statement: “. . . proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance.” (Acts 28:31) What a hopeful and victorious way of concluding a book.

      Let us not forget that Paul went through many trials and difficulties. He was unjustly imprisoned, publicly flogged like a common criminal, rejected by his countrymen many times, stoned, shipwrecked, and wrongly accused of a crime he did not commit. And on top of these, he was, at many times, financially challenged, so much so that he had to work his trade as a tent maker. In this way, he is able to “pay the bills” and continue his missionary work. Paul was in constant turmoil, “in toil and hardships, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure,” he endured them all (2 Corinthians 11:27).

       Despite all (or, maybe, because) of these, Dr. Luke concludes his writing of the Book of Acts with this hopeful description that the kingdom of God is freely proclaimed and Paul’s ministry in Rome is unhindered and unrestrained. What a victorious conclusion.

      Our Christian ministry (and missions work) amidst this global pandemic is not yet concluded. Many of us are continuing in the ministry of preaching, encouragement, helping, feeding, and healing. My prayer is that, at the end, after this global pandemic is concluded, we can say we preached the kingdom of God, “speaking with all boldness and freedom” (Acts 28:31, GNT).