Mixed Reception (Acts 28:23-27)

And some believed the things which were spoken, and some believed not.” (Acts 28:24, AV)

Years ago, my wife and I were invited to a company Christmas party at a place called “The Dry Gulch.” I guess you can imagine from the name that it was not the kind of place in which we would feel the most comfortable. When we arrived, we had to check our winter coats and they were locked up for the duration of the party. The party lasted what seemed like an eternity, but it was only about two or three hours. The focus of the party was a show with some off-color innuendos, dinner, and drinking a lot of alcohol. Other than the dinner, these did not appeal much to us. However, it was the company Christmas party and besides, they locked up our coats and we could not leave anyway.

As I looked around the hall in which we sat, I noticed only a few people who felt uncomfortable like we did. Most every one imbibed, and as the night went on seemed to enjoy the show more and more. The point here is that there was definitely a mixed reaction by various people to the party. In fact, my boss asked me the next workday, “I guess the party was not your cup of tea, right?” He then went on to say, that he was glad that we were good sports about it. The point of this is that there was a mixed reaction to the events that went on that evening.

Here, Paul had an opportunity to speak to a group of Jewish leaders in Rome. It seems to have been a large group. Paul expounded to them from the Scriptures testifying regarding the kingdom of God, trying to convince them about Jesus as Messiah and Savior. After he finished, the text tells us that some believed and some did not. In fact, the text states that upon departure the Jewish leaders disagreed among themselves.

As the leaders departed Paul made a statement from Isaiah.

And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed.” (Isaiah 6:9–10, AV)

There are two ways to look at this event. We can look at it from the view that the glass is half empty, or we can see it as if the glass is half full. We can see it negatively in that so many did not believe or we can look at it positively and say that some did believe.

When we witness, we will find a mixed reaction to our message. There will be a variety of responses. Some will believe. Others will not believe and may never believe. There are also others who will listen and store the message in their mind for a later date when the Holy Spirit will touch their hearts. The latter is my story.

Numerous people witnessed to me throughout my life. From a youth Sunday school, to college, while in the military, and from a pastoral visit to my home. I am sure that many of those who witnessed felt discouraged that I did not respond to the message. However, I did but not then. It was years later that the Spirit moved in such a way as to respond by faith.

Do not be discouraged in your witnessing. Be of good cheer. The Lord’s word does not return void (Isa 55:11). Keep on sharing and trust the Lord. You may be surprised by who you will see in heaven.

Published by Steve Hankins, Th.D.

Steve has had extensive military, business and ministry experience. He has served for over 16 years in full time vocational ministry and many years of part time ministry in churches. He has led churches through start-up and recasting of vision. Now He resides on the Outer Banks of North Carolina where he is working to help smaller churches and believers to renew their hearts and regain the joy of the Lord.

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