Acts 28:11-16 (ESV)
After three months we set sail in a ship that had wintered in the island, a ship of Alexandria, with the twin gods as a figurehead. Putting in at Syracuse, we stayed there for three days. And from there we made a circuit and arrived at Rhegium. And after one day a south wind sprang up, and on the second day we came to Puteoli. There we found brothers and were invited to stay with them for seven days. And so we came to Rome. And the brothers there, when they heard about us, came as far as the Forum of Appius and Three Taverns to meet us. On seeing them, Paul thanked God and took courage. And when we came into Rome, Paul was allowed to stay by himself, with the soldier who guarded him.
After all his trials and tribulations, Paul finally catches a break. There are many brothers in Italy and Paul is encouraged by their willingness to travel many miles to see him. Then, when he gets to Rome, he is granted unusual privileges for a prisoner. Paul was allowed to stay by himself, with the soldier who guarded him.
That means that Paul isn’t in a prison; he’s under house arrest, living somewhere in the city. Imagine what kind of experience the soldier guarding him was having! Undoubtedly, he quickly realized that Paul could be trusted. Since Paul was a veritable miracle factory, the soldier’s opinion of Paul soon rose beyond mere trust. It’s easy to see him saying, “I love my job.”
This was essential to Paul’s ministry in Rome. It’s almost as hard to get into a roman prison as it is to get out of one. If Paul was in a secure facility, his ability to entertain guests would have been severely limited. The epistles Paul wrote from Rome might have been hindered too.
Paul’s life would ultimately be cut short by the Emperor, but his time in Rome was incredibly productive.
In Martin Luther King Jr’s most prophetic speech, he talked about, “getting to the promised land.” He famously predicted, “I may not get there with you.”
But before that, he spent a lot of time talking about the things he did live to see, and how close he came to not living to see them. He was thankful to God for the years that he had been given.
Martin referred to the prospect of growing old as “longevity.” He said, “Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will.”
Though our pop culture won’t admit it, that line is the key to the speech and the key to his whole life. It’s the key to your life too. It’s the key to life period. If Jesus is our Lord, then doing his will has to be our focus. Otherwise, the word “Lord” has no meaning.
Read King’s speech and let his spiritual attitude sink in. His sincerity is awesome. Ask God to help you capture some of that. The day after Dr. King gave this speech, he was assassinated.
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