"To a Roman the city of Rome was the centre of the world; from the golden milestone in the Forum at Rome roads went out in all directions to all parts of the Empire. So when The Acts ends with Paul in Rome preaching the gospel, Luke must mean that now from the centre of the world the gospel is beginning to go out in all directions to all parts of the Empire" (Filson 1970:76). The "salvation applied" portion of the gospel—good news preached to all the nations—indeed finds its fulfillment in Paul's bold and unhindered proclamation at Rome of "the kingdom of God" and the king, the Lord Jesus Christ (28:31; compare Lk 24:46-47).
This phase of Paul's "ministry in chains" has parallels and contrasts with Christ's death and resurrection. Paul, not unlike Jonah, faces the prospect of a watery grave, but he comes through triumphantly (compare Jonah 1; Lk 11:29-32). Human wisdom (Acts 27:10, 31), encouragement of fellow travelers (27:21-26, 33-38), divine personal protection (28:3-6) and gracious mercy ministry (28:8-9) are all involved. But God's providential working to fulfill his saving purposes through Paul—the gospel's proclamation in Rome—will not be thwarted. This is Luke's final challenge to his Roman audience and to us. If the advance of the gospel is so unstoppable, what is stopping us from embracing it?
IVP New Testament Commentaries are made available by the generosity of InterVarsity Press.
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