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23 So when they had appointed him a day, many came to him at his lodging, to whom he explained and solemnly testified of the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus from both the Law of Moses and the Prophets, from morning till evening. 24 And some were persuaded by the things which were spoken, and some disbelieved. 25 So when they did not agree among themselves, they departed after Paul had said one word: “The Holy Spirit spoke rightly through Isaiah the prophet to our fathers, 26 saying, ‘Go to this people and say:Hearing you will hear, and shall not understand; And seeing you will see, and not perceive; 27 For the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, And their eyes they have closed, Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, So that I should heal them.” ’ 28 “Therefore let it be known to you that the salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will hear it!” 29 And when he had said these words, the Jews departed and had a great dispute among themselves. 

 

Paul preached Jesus to local Jewish leaders in Rome (Acts 28:23-29). Some believed, but others did not.  

28:23 

So when they had appointed him a day, many came to him at his lodging, to whom he explained and solemnly testified of the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus from both the Law of Moses and the Prophets, from morning till evening. 

Many Jewish people came to Paul’s lodging after scheduling a day to meet with the apostle. The apostle preached from Moses and the Prophets from morning to evening, testifying about “the kingdom of God.” God promised a future kingdom for Israel. The kingdom of God included the death, Resurrection, and coming kingdom of Christ on earth.  

28:24 

And some were persuaded by the things which were spoken, and some disbelieved. 

Some Jews believed Paul’s message, but others did not. The apostle, throughout his ministry, was persistent in his attempts to reach the Jews, but after they rejected the Messiah Jesus, he turned to Gentiles. God is in the business of winning many Gentiles to Himself after Israel rejected their Messiah.  

28:25 

So when they did not agree among themselves, they departed after Paul had said one word: “The Holy Spirit spoke rightly through Isaiah the prophet to our fathers, 

The local Jews did not agree among themselves about whether Paul’s message was correct or not. Luke quoted a passage from Isaiah to show that some Jews will not believe the gospel. 

28:26 

saying,  

Paul quoted Isaiah 6:9-10 to establish Jewish rejection of the gospel. Jesus had also quoted these verses because the Jews refused to believe in Him (Mt 13:14-15; Mark 4:12; Lu 8:10). Paul referenced the Isaiah 6 passage in Romans 11:8. Isaiah prophesied the obstinacy of the Jews.  

‘Go to this people and say:Hearing you will hear, and shall not understand; And seeing you will see, and not perceive; 

This verse from the Septuagint shows Israel would not understand or perceive God’s Word.  

28:27 

For the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, And their eyes they have closed, Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, So that I should heal them.” ’ 

Verse 27 is a quote from Isaiah 6:10 to show Israel’s negative volition toward the gospel. They had callous hearts, dull ears, and closed eyes.  

28:28 

“Therefore let it be known to you that the salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will hear it!” 

In contrast to Jews, many Gentiles would respond to the gospel. Ministry to Gentiles is the climax of the book of Acts. Since the nation Israel rejected their Messiah, God used Paul to preach to the Gentiles. This is God’s plan until the fullness of the Gentiles comes (Ro 11:19-26).  

28:29 

And when he had said these words, the Jews departed and had a great dispute among themselves. 

The Jews continued to debate among themselves about whether what Paul said was true or not. Some manuscripts do not include verse 29.  

PRINCIPLE: 

Hearing is only genuine hearing with embracing of the message.  

APPLICATION: 

The verb “to hear” (akouo) occurs five times in our passage. The Roman Jews expressed their desire to hear Paul’s message. After hearing it, they responded to the gospel with rejection. The quote from Isaiah referenced hearing three times, with the message that hearing is not proper hearing without those hearing embracing the gospel. The Jews heard the gospel message and did not listen; the Gentiles both heard and responded to it (Mt 28:28). There is a difference between those hardened to the gospel and those with positive volition toward it.   

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