Paul immediately contacts the leaders of the Jewish community to acquaint them with his situation and apparently to determine where they stand on his case (vv. 17-20). The Roman Jews know nothing about the charges against Paul, only the accusations against Christianity about which they desire to know more (vv. 21-22). It is most interesting, presuming a Christian community in Rome (Romans was written prior to Paul's arrest in Jerusalem), that the Jews of Rome seem to be ignorant of Christianity. Had the Christian community already become so distanced from Judaism? Did Christianity in Rome begin with Gentiles and not Jews, thus not causing disturbances among the Jews? We simply do not know.
The closing scene with the Jews is a reprise of Paul's ministry and Luke's account of Christian history. As throughout his ministry, Paul seeks to convince the Jews from Moses and the Prophets regarding the kingdom and the Messiah. As throughout his ministry, some believe; others reject. And, as throughout his ministry, Paul announces his outreach to the Gentiles (vv. 23-29). The success of the gentile mission is epitomized in Paul's open and unhindered preaching and teaching in Rome for two years (v. 30). Thus Luke closes his account with a vignette that summarizes the whole work, revealing how the new covenant community emerges out of Judaism to impact the gentile world of Rome.
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_______. The First Christian Century. London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1911.
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