October 15, 2022
Photo by Matthew Hamilton on Unsplash
Imagine the last word of your biography being an adverb, a modifier that describes an verb. It is the quality of the action and description of the activity itself.
Paul's story in the book of Acts, ends with an adverb, unhinderedly.
It is so open-ended that it predicts the history of the church from the first century until today.
"μετὰ (with) πάσης (all)παρρησίας (boldness) ἀκωλύτως (unhinderedly)."
With these words, the book of Acts ends.
The ending has been the subject of dissertations and monographs.
Some have considered it a truncated ending because it seems awkward.
Others have noted that it is a perfect prelude to chapter twenty-nine, the unwritten ending that we are living out every day.
Unhinderedly, is an awkward way of expressing the reality, but it is also, exceedingly hopeful. It is, likewise, challenging,
Most of us would consider Paul's hardships to be major hindrances. In the same way, we consider our hardships, inconveniences, and discomfort to be hindrances. Luke would not; nor would Paul.
We cannot approach opportunity from the viewpoint of our limiting beliefs. They create false boundaries and definitions for our lives.
For Paul, many of the things we would names as hindrances were open doors. Because he viewed them that way, he responded to them with boldness.
What circumstances are you considering to be hindrances in your life right now.
Is their another view you can take of them?
What difference will that make?
Three days later he called together the local leaders of the Jews. When they had assembled, he said to them, "Brothers, though I had done nothing against our people or the customs of our ancestors, yet I was arrested in Jerusalem and handed over to the Romans. When they had examined me, the Romans wanted to release me, because there was no reason for the death penalty in my case. But when the Jews objected, I was compelled to appeal to the emperor-- even though I had no charge to bring against my nation."
"For this reason therefore I have asked to see you and speak with you, since it is for the sake of the hope of Israel that I am bound with this chain."
They replied, "We have received no letters from Judea about you, and none of the brothers coming here has reported or spoken anything evil about you. But we would like to hear from you what you think, for with regard to this sect we know that everywhere it is spoken against."
After they had set a day to meet with him, they came to him at his lodgings in great numbers. From morning until evening he explained the matter to them, testifying to the kingdom of God and trying to convince them about Jesus both from the law of Moses and from the prophets. Some were convinced by what he had said, while others refused to believe. So they disagreed with each other; and as they were leaving,
Paul made one further statement: "The Holy Spirit was right in saying to your ancestors through the prophet Isaiah, 'Go to this people and say, You will indeed listen, but never understand, and you will indeed look, but never perceive. For this people's heart has grown dull, and their ears are hard of hearing, and they have shut their eyes; so that they might not look with their eyes, and listen with their ears, and understand with their heart and turn-- and I would heal them.' Let it be known to you then that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will listen."
He lived there two whole years at his own expense and welcomed all who came to him, proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance.