Acts 28

Reading Luke and Acts in 2020


Week 52  |  Acts 28
 


Acts 28 Reflections and Questions


By Rev. Heather Jallad

We have come to the end of Acts, or is it the beginning? You may have heard it said that every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end. And what a finish! A shipwreck, snake bite, miraculous healing, return to Rome, house arrest and preaching and teaching and writing until his last breath. Paul never saw a battle he backed down from. His passion and zeal for God could not be thwarted whatever his circumstances. 

The Church flourished and grew exponentially during this time, by the power of the Spirit and through God’s people. The birth of the Gentile Church had no building(s) associated with their gathering or multiplying. They met in homes and neighborhoods, they broke bread together, and attended to the apostles’ teaching and prayer.  

We have a lot to learn about this time of explosive growth that is particularly poignant to a time such as this. We are not gathering in large buildings, we are dispersed and distributed. The Church is very much alive just like it was in the apostolic era. What if we broke bread together in our homes, attended to the scriptures, and prayer with a few trusted friends, neighbors, people you are already spending time with? It was church 2000 years ago. What makes it any less than that today? What new possibilities might there be in our neighborhoods and homes? How might God be inviting us to write the next chapter? What part would you write for yourself? Your family? God is not done. The Spirit is still moving. Jesus is still commissioning and sending his followers.  

As we wind down our year in Luke/Acts spend some time reading and meditating on this last chapter and consider how Paul responds as he faces each obstacle. 

  • Read verses 1-6--First Paul survives a shipwreck and then a deadly snake bite, only to head to house arrest in Rome. God was still working and Paul had more to do while serving time under house arrest. 
  • Read verses 7-10--Paul is shown great hospitality by strangers and provides healing while in a time of his own disorientation and need. How might God want to use you as an instrument of healing for another? It is remarkable how tending to the needs of others can give us perspective on our own challenges and limitations. 
  • Read verses 11-16--Paul is encouraged as he encounters other believers. Who are your encouragers? 
  • Read verses 17-22--Paul recounts the journey that brought him to Rome. What echoes of Jesus’s journey to the cross do you hear? 
  • Read verses 23-30--Paul is under house arrest and yet the church grows and multiples during this time as he continues the good work, even with these obstacles. Most of the new testament letters were written while he was under house arrest. In this time of limitations and quarantine how might you continue the work of the church, even from home? 

I have heard the book of Acts referred to as the Acts of the Apostles because it certainly does tell the story of their ministry and work in sharing the good news. And then there is the birth of the church. I have heard it referred to as the Acts of the Holy Spirit because it tells the story of Pentecost and the work of the Spirit displayed in the multiplication of the mission and the power given the followers of Jesus, the people of the Way. Now what? What comes next? The Acts of the Ordinary, Everyday, People of God would be the fitting title of chapter 29. The sequel. We are still writing the story. The family rescue mission continues in and through us, the priesthood of all believers. 

As this year of uncertainty draws to a close I could not help but recall what Bishop Sue shared in the words of Corrie ten Boom as we began the pandemic pivot of 2020. They seem a fitting benediction as we write the next chapter together. “Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.” That God, we often remind one another, is good. All.The.Time.  

Rev. Heather Jallad is Fresh Expressions Cultivator for the North Georgia Conference and Pastor of Community Engagement at Mount Pisgah UMC in Johns Creek.
 

Editor's Note

Congratulations! In 2020 you joined thousands of United Methodists in the North Georgia Conference in reading the Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts. Read more about this 52-week initiative at: "Conference-Wide Scripture Readings Help Us Connect"

If you would like to revisit any of the reflections or read these two books with your congregation, class, or small group, you can find the reflections and schedule at https://www.ngumc.org/luke-and-acts.