“He lived there two whole years at his own expense, and welcomed all who came to him, proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance.” (Acts 28:30–31, ESV)
It has been my style to share a little about myself in my preaching and writing. The purpose has not been to glorify myself and I hope it has not come off that way. The purpose was primarily to present relatable illustrations for people so they could connect with what I have attempted to communicate. After writing the first set on the book of romans, my son suggested that I publish them into a book. I did so and the title is, “Renewing the Heart Through Romans.” I recently did the same with the book of Hebrews.
I decided to give many copies of the first book, covering Romans, to those family and church friends close to me as gifts. I began receiving some positive feedback. Other than people stating that they were learning much about the book of Romans and some practical applications for life, they indicated that they learned a lot about me. Hearing this I thought, perhaps my heirs would someday read these books and understand something about my life, something by which they may remember their great grandpa.
An epitaph is something different from a legacy like this. The epitaph is a short summary of that which characterizes a person’s life while a legacy is something that you hand down to succeeding generations. Regarding a historical legacy, an epitaph would be a short summary highlight of a person’s legacy. Here at the end of the book of Acts, we see final biblical record of Paul’s life. Moreover, when we look at it, we see a brief statement that would characterize Paul’s life.
The book of Acts ends abruptly with Paul awaiting trial while on house arrest in Rome. There are a lot of traditions as to what happened to Paul after this ending of the book, but no one knows for certain. The major thought is that Paul was tried and executed in Rome in 62 AD. Others theorize that he died during the persecution of the church at a later date. Another view is that Paul’s case never came to trial and that he continued on with his ministry perhaps even reaching Spain as he desired (Rom 15:24). The only thing we can biblically speculate is that he did stand trial before Caesar as his vision indicated (Acts 27:23).
We must surmise that if the Lord wanted us to know what happened to Paul after the end of the book of Acts, this would have been recorded in the Bible for us somewhere. You see, what happened to Paul after the end of the book of Acts is not the most important thing for us to know. What we must do is sit back and look at his legacy of faith. Paul was a man that the Lord miraculously saved and turned him into a faithful, diligent, and passionate servant of the gospel of free grace. Regardless of the hardships thrown at him, he never gave up on his calling. Even under house arrest in Rome, we see that he lived out his days ministering at his own expense, “proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness to everyone who came to him.”
Paul set an example for each one of us to follow. The question is, what legacy will we leave to those who follow? I hope that mine will be of a faithful follower and servant of the King of kings and Lord of lords.