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Persuading People About Jesus

Acts 28:23-24
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. Some were convinced by what he said, but others would not believe. (NIVUK)

Paul was in Rome because he had appealed to Caesar's court (Acts 26:32) to have a fair trial and to be able to present Christ to the Emperor (Acts 27:23-24). The Roman governors in Judea did not want to release Paul, because they did not want to upset the delicate relationship with the religious establishment, and they hated the idea that Jesus was the Messiah. Although Paul had done nothing wrong, he was chained to a soldier in a house he rented at his own expense, but able to receive visitors (Acts 28:30).

He had invited the local Jewish leaders (Acts 28:17-20), to explain about the 'hope of Israel', which is salvation through trusting in Jesus. That initial meeting was friendly and led to another meeting to discuss what Paul wanted to say. Everybody had heard about the Christians and spoke negatively about them; so now there was an opportunity to hear the story directly from the man whose preaching had turned the world upside down (Acts 17:6). It is not surprising that many more came to the meeting than had been invited.

Paul took full advantage of this opportunity to preach the gospel, explaining how God's Kingdom was revealed by Moses and the Prophets. It was not enough to give an academic paper on the history of Israel; Paul wanted them to see how Jesus was the fulfilment of the law, and was clearly described by the Prophets. His heart's desire was that they, and all who claimed to belong to Israel, might be saved (Romans 10:1). That is why he took time, examining the Scriptures and comparing them with the historical events in the life of Jesus. He wanted to convince their minds and trusted that the Holy Spirit might convict their hearts - that they had been wrong about Jesus (John 16:7-10).

Some Christians think it is wrong to persuade other people about Jesus. The Apostle Paul would not agree. His ministry was all about persuading, convincing, and urging people to submit to the authority of Jesus Christ (Acts 18:4; 19:8; 26:28-29). In 2 Corinthians 5:11 Paul writes, "Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade others." And in 2 Corinthians 10:5 he writes, "We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." The gospel has a wonderful logic which Paul was eager explain. That should be our model. Most people seem easy about enthusiastically convincing others about food recipes, holiday destinations, motor cars and health tips; why not about Jesus too? If you do not know how to present Christ, www.crosscheck.org.uk will help you to unpack the gospel's logic with your friends and colleagues.

God of truth. Thank You for revealing the Lord Jesus through the scriptures in such a logical way. Forgive me when I make the gospel either mysterious or complicated so that other people cannot understand it. Please help me to learn how to patiently explain Your grace and mercy through the sacrifice of Jesus, and how my friends can also receive Him in repentance and faith. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams