When they had appointed a day for [Paul], they came to him at his lodging in greater numbers. From morning till evening he expounded to them, testifying to the kingdom of God and trying to convince them about Jesus both from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets. And some were convinced by what he said, but others disbelieved. —Acts 28:23–24 (ESV)
The end of the Book of Acts is the culmination of many chapters that cover conflict between the Apostle Paul and the religious authorities who opposed him. Ultimately, Paul played his ‘Roman citizenship’ card which ensured temporary safety—he would be in the custody of the Romans, not Jewish religious officials—and also get a trial in Rome.
Today’s text comes when Paul arrives in Rome to await trial. He is under house arrest and welcomes Jewish religious leaders in the city who had heard about Paul but had not heard him for themselves. Paul takes the opportunity to tell them about Jesus. Notice the verbs used to describe Paul’s actions: He expounds, testifies, and tries to convince. In other words, he explains Jesus to them in light of Scripture, he testifies of what he has seen and heard, and he tries his best to convince his listeners of the truth of what he is sharing. The final statement reveals the results: “some were convinced by what he said, but others disbelieved.”
And so it is with us today. As Christians, we explain Jesus to others in light of Scripture. We testify to what we have seen and heard. And we try to convince them of the truth of what we say. But at the end of the day, the results are in God’s hands. And more than likely, the results will be mixed, just as they were with Paul. Rest in God’s providence. Rest in your faithfulness to testify, trusting that God will do the spiritual work. Don’t be overly disappointed when you encounter unbelief. Keep fighting the good fight.