23When they had appointed a day for him, 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. 24And some were convinced by what he said, but others disbelieved. 25And disagreeing among themselves, they departed after Paul had made one statement: “The Holy Spirit was right in saying to your fathers through Isaiah the prophet:
26 “‘Go to this people, and say, You will indeed hear but never understand,
and you will indeed see but never perceive.
27 For this people’s heart has grown dull,
and with their ears they can barely hear,
and their eyes they have closed;
lest they should see with their eyes
and hear with their ears
and understand with their heart
and turn, and I would heal them.’
28Therefore let it be known to you that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will listen.”
30He lived there two whole years at his own expense, and welcomed all who came to him, 31 proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance.
Paul spent much time in speaking to the Jewish leaders regarding Christ. He debated with them and explained the Scriptures to them and dealt with their questions and even quoted hard texts to them regarding their unwillingness to believe (v. 25-27). Giving the Gospel is not a simple matter of getting a few facts right and firing them at people. Giving out literature is not giving the Gospel – it is getting good stuff into people’s hands so that they can read and believe. It is a good and necessary work. But we need to be able to explain the Scriptures to others and that means knowing them well. We must be willing to take time with people. We need to be patient. We need to work very hard.
There is a striking change between the responses to the preaching of the Gospel in the early chapters of Acts and the later ones. The events of and around Pentecost were extraordinary. God chose to pour out His Spirit in a very spectacular manner. But that is not the norm.
We can pray for similar things to happen, but we should not think that those spectacles are what is needed in order to get the Gospel out effectively. What is needed is a heart for the glory of God, a knowledge of the Scriptures that can deal with the questions of those who disagree with us, much prayer, and much perseverance. May God grant such things to us and may they produce, by His grace, much fruit.
Today, pray to grow in your understanding of the biblical Gospel and pray to recognize the opportunities that God puts in your path to give it to someone and pray that by His sovereign grace, He will use your Gospel work to awaken someone to the wonders of the Gospel.