And when we came to Rome, the centurion delivered the prisoners to the captain of the guard…
I. A FINAL PERSONAL TESTIMONY OF INNOCENCE. It is full of manly courage and simplicity. It was no subversive teaching or conduct that had brought him into his present position. No definite charge had ever been proved against him. Like the Master, it was as a fulfiller, not as a destroyer, that he had wrought. It was for the "hope of Israel "he had suffered. Great teachers are always fulfillers. But because they see that truth is not stagnant, but living, they are accused of innovation. When we accuse others of innovation, let us ask whether it be not that our own garb of thought has grown old. The whole New Testament story is one long protest against imposing fetters on the freedom of the living spirit and the course of truth.
II. A FINAL CONFESSION. Of Jesus as the Messiah. And a final argument with his countrymen. To point back to Moses and the prophets in evidence of this was to show that the doctrine of the cross and the resurrection was the fulfillment and consummation of the ancient faith of Israel. But this was no cold statement, no perfunctory statement. From morning till evening Paul labored with his countrymen's souls. Men are never weary of speaking of that of which their hearts are full. It is not the argumentative side of Christian truth on which every preacher or teacher can dwell. But whatever be the aspect of truth and life he conceives with force and which possesses his soul, let him speak and not be weary. The result will be the same as with Paul, and cannot be expected otherwise. Some will be persuaded, others will disbelieve. The clear expression of any positive truth will be echoed in assent and resisted in negation. Perhaps we can never be sure that we have spoken the truth until we have met opposition.
III. FINAL EFFUSION OF LOVE. He addresses them as brethren, and after telling them of the enmity and persecution he had experienced at the hands of their fathers in Palestine, he still knocks once more at the door of their hearts. The prophetic words of his close are full of a solemn pathos. The audience, disunited, falls to two sections. It is not that division begins with the preaching of the gospel, but the hidden disunion of the heart is brought to light. The sun does not produce difference, but only reveals difference, which could not be recognized in darkness. Hardness of heart is both a natural consequence of contempt of the truth, and a Divine judgment upon it. But the aurora of the future shines brightly against this dark background of Israel's rejection. No sin, no ingratitude of man, can dim the splendor of that eternal heaven of grace. If the Jews will not come to the great supper of God, the Gentiles shall fill his house. - J.
Parallel VersesKJV: And when we came to Rome, the centurion delivered the prisoners to the captain of the guard: but Paul was suffered to dwell by himself with a soldier that kept him.