The Last Word

October 7, 2019
by John Stuart

Acts 28:31 – Boldly and without hindrance [Paul] preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ. (NIV)

I love the last verse of the book of Acts. It is full of encouragement and energy, showing us that Paul continued to preach and teach the gospel for the rest of his days. His faith absolutely captivated him, and we should be thankful for his focus on serving Christ. Most of what we still read, hear, preach, and teach about Christianity originates in the mission, work, and writings of Paul.

He must have known that his time was almost up. At some point, he was brought before the Emperor, and his appeal was rejected. Traditional stories suggest that he was beheaded by Nero just after most of Rome was burned to the ground. The Christians were blamed for the fire, so Paul, as a ringleader of the notorious sect, was probably executed. During this time of persecution, Simon Peter was also crucified in Rome.

It must have taken a lot of courage to continue proclaiming the kingdom of God when Paul knew that he was under a death sentence. The apostle made sure that every minute of his diminishing days was spent talking to folks about faith or writing letters to people and churches which were beginning to flourish all over the Mediterranean. This is why I love how the book of Acts ends: it's almost as if the writer, Luke, is handing over Paul's mission to the rest of us, to take up his work and continue the gospel story in our own lives. With the help of the Holy Spirit, the reading of the gospels, and the studying of Paul's letters, that is exactly what we all can do. In effect, our story becomes a new chapter — Acts 29.

Points to ponder: What am I doing with the faith that I have received? How am I continuing this great story of the gospel?

Prayer: Lord Jesus, teach us Your ways and help us to continue proclaiming Your kingdom in our lives and in the world today. Enable us to share Your words and take up the mission that Paul laid down so long ago. In Your holy name, we pray. Amen.

About the author:

John Stuart <traqair@aol.com>
Knoxville, Tennessee, USA

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    May we do just that, John.


    Great thoughts! “Acts 29” would make a great sermon title!


    Thank you, John, for this reminder that we’re the ones who can point the way to Christ! Blessings.


    You are such an inspirational writer. I am always blessed by reading your devotionals. Keep on keeping on.


    Liking your encouragement through Paul’s life. Bless you at this season. The harvest is big, but the workers are few. Let’s do it.


    Hi John,
    Thanks for the historical insight and the moving call to faith action!
    Blessings.


    Acts 28:31 – Boldly and without hindrance [Paul] preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ. (NIV)
    Amen,
    Keep writing, John Stuart.


    John,
    Thank you for the Bible study and call to think about how we are following Paul in spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ.
    Blessings to your day.


    Hello John,
    Thank you for this mindful devotional. Reflecting on your “points to ponder” is an important message and consideration for us to take to heart.
    Blessings,
    (B.C.)


    Thank you, John, for such a positive message this Monday morning, adding to what we have in Acts with the times and settings in which these words were born. How can we do any less when these beloved individuals gave their lives that the Word would go out to all! Yay for you and the inspiration!


    Thanks, John. I too have been fascinated by this verse. For me it links the Gospels “preached the kingdom of God” with the more doctrinal Pauline writings who “taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.”
    Thanks for your occasional reflections.
    (MI)


    Hello John
    This was great to read and lines up with what we have been doing at our church. We just finished a series of ‘tell your story’ and how to go about to do it. Some people are shy etc. But we all have a story, can be told even if part of the story but it opens the door for maybe someone who needs to hear your story and see how God is moving.
    So, thank you for your devotional.
    God bless.


    Dear Pastor John,
    Thank you for your words of encouragement. They are inspiring.
    I love history and am always trying to find out more about “the behind the scenes” times of Jesus and His apostles. It adds so much more to Jesus’ parables and what they were encountering. I would like to know of the books where you and other pastors dive in to get this information, i.e., Paul and Peter’s executions. I would really appreciate it.
    Thanks again for all your Devotionals.


    Whenever I see a devotional written by John Stuart, I read all of it. Today he commends Paul for his faithfulness until the end. I agree that we should not retire but continue to share the good news as long as we live. There are many unfinished tasks to complete. What a pity that many young people have not heard the experiences of their grandparents because they live far away. Some of us can help write their memoires. In small conversation groups around a round table, those who have a hearing deficit can hear and share. Those who have a memory deficit can share remarkable memories of their childhood and adult experiences.
    (BC.)


    Amen. John Stuart. Keep writing.

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