Paul’s at his end, Rome, listening Acts 28

14 Jul

They replied, “We have not received any letters from Judea concerning you, and none of our people who have come from there has reported or said anything bad about you. 22 But we want to hear what your views are, for we know that people everywhere are talking against this sect.”

‘…we want to hear…’

Hearing is not listening. Hearing sits with words, words spoke or written; words external or internal; words written or in silences, hearing sits with words for a moment and then, releases their meaning. Meanings leave without any trace.

Paul spends all day with this crowd. What do they retain, what is listened to, absorbed?

23 They arranged to meet Paul on a certain day, and came in even larger numbers to the place where he was staying. He witnessed to them from morning till evening, explaining about the kingdom of God, and from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets he tried to persuade them about Jesus. 24 Some were convinced by what he said, but others would not believe. 25 They disagreed among themselves and began to leave after Paul had made this final statement: “The Holy Spirit spoke the truth to your ancestors when he said through Isaiah the prophet:

26 “‘Go to this people and say,

“You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.”

For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes.

Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.’

28 “Therefore I want you to know that God’s salvation has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will listen!”

This large crowd of Jewish leaders whom Paul has given all to speak to, they cannot hear the Jesus in, with Paul. Words are heard, and gone. Nothing is listened to, retained and held. Hearers of the word do not act. Listeners do.

Only those who listen act. Like the apostles; like Paul. Like gentiles.

Paul now knows that strangers, gentiles, will listen.

And as we end our walk with Luke through the acts of the church and her apostles in tomorrow’s post, we will see how and why they listen.

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