Well done if you’ve made it this far!
We’ve got to the final day!
We hope you’ve been encouraged and inspired as we’ve journeyed through the Book of Acts together. Our prayer is that as you’ve unpacked each book, your faith and expectation for what God can do has gone to new levels!
Here are my thoughts on the last chapter.
The story so far
Paul is on the final leg of the journey to Rome. After being shipwrecked at Malta, we pick up the story before he sets sail for Rome.
Reading: Acts 28
In this chapter we read about Paul’s time in Malta, his arrival in Rome and his preaching to the Jewish leaders in Rome.
As I read this chapter, some of the verses that I started to unpack were of Paul’s time in Malta. Malta is one of the places in the Bible that I’ve visited, so it was good to dig a little deeper into this passage of scripture.
In verse 3 we read about an incident with a snake that latches itself onto Paul’s hand. The islanders watch with interest to see what happens. Knowing Paul has just escaped off a ship full of prisoners, they immediately see this as some sort of justice for him. Having escaped the shipwreck with his life, the snake bite is now justice for the ‘wrongdoing’ he has committed.
However, verse 5 says Paul simply shook off the snake into the fire and continued as normal. The locals, however, were watching him and after a few days could see that he hadn’t suffered!
He therefore must be a god, they thought.
These verses and this story reminded me of something Jesus says to his disciples in Luke 10.
In Luke 10 we read that Jesus had sent out his disciples ahead of himself, to every town and village, proclaiming that the Kingdom of God was near. His disciples were sent with a purpose, to proclaim the Kingdom of God. Paul himself knew of his own purpose, to do exactly the same and once arriving in Rome, he continued to preach about the Kingdom of God to the local Jewish leaders.
In Luke 10, once the disciples return, Jesus says these words:
I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. (Luke 10:18-19)
Paul was a man who knew what it was to walk in the authority Jesus had given him. That’s why the snake didn’t bother him. He knew he was called. He knew where he was going. He knew his life was full of purpose. He knew he had been given authority. This snake wasn’t going to stop him!
Just as Paul walked in the authority Jesus had given him, Jesus has given you authority!
The Passion Translation of this verse puts it like this:
While you were ministering, I watched Satan topple until he fell suddenly from heaven like lightning to the ground. Now you understand that I have imparted to you all my authority to trample over his kingdom. You will trample upon every demon before you and overcome every power Satan possesses. Absolutely nothing will be able to harm you as you walk in this authority.
Wow, what a challenge for us!
Jesus has been given all authority in heaven and earth (Matthew 28:18). So for us to walk in this authority, we must first come under Jesus in His authority. Submitting our lives to Jesus as our LORD.
Once He is our LORD, we can walk in the authority he gives us.
What a privilege!
What an honour!
We can be called children of God and walk in the authority Jesus gives us. To bring about the Kingdom of God on earth.
As I’ve read through Acts this month, one thing which stands out to me is that Paul was a man who knew what it was to walk in the authority he’d received from Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Our Vision Month may have come to an end but our pursuit of Jesus and the Kingdom of God will continue.
My challenge is to continue to walk in the authority Jesus has given us, to seek first the Kingdom of God, to follow where He leads and to go when He calls.
The best is yet to come!
Contributed by Ps Jonny