Rome at Last

David Bast

Read: Acts 28:11-16

And so we came to Rome. (v. 14)

When the apostle finally reached Rome, Nero was emperor—a chilling thought, considering that he was the Caesar to whom Paul had appealed his case. But Paul’s arrival looks something like a triumphal entry, which is no less encouraging to the apostle.

Rome was much more than just another stop on Paul’s missionary itinerary. It marks the climax of Paul’s career, as he finally is able to realize his long-time ambition of preaching the gospel in the capital of the empire. But Paul’s arrival in Rome is also the fulfillment of Luke’s plan for the book of Acts.

We could read Acts as “A Tale of Two Cities.” The book begins in Jerusalem and ends in Rome. Luke’s agenda for Acts is spelled out in Jesus’ final instructions to his disciples, recorded in Acts 1:8: “You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” So why does Rome serve as the climax of the story? There was a well-known saying that is still familiar to us: “All roads lead to Rome.” That was literally true. A golden post set in the middle of the Roman Forum was “Mile Marker 0” for every road throughout the Empire. But if all roads led to Rome, then roads from Rome led everywhere! So in a symbolic sense Paul’s arrival in the capital represented the goal of taking the gospel to the ends of the earth. —David Bast

Prayer: Lord, may the good news of Jesus continue to go to the ends of the earth, until your triumphant return.