Then Paul dwelt two whole years in his own rented house, and received all who came to him, preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence, no one forbidding him. (Acts 28:30-31)
These last two verses of the book of Acts tell us that Paul did finally make it to Rome, and the book ends with Paul waiting to have his case heard by Caesar. Paul dwelt two years waiting in Rome, and this was after more than two years at Caesarea waiting for his case to be resolved (Acts 24:27). Long delays in the legal system are nothing new.
Paul eventually had his appearance before Caesar Nero. It’s entirely reasonable to believe that he boldly and powerfully proclaimed the gospel to him – as God had promised he would (Acts 9:15 and 23:11).
Until his trial before Caesar, Paul lived in his own rented house. It may be that in these years Paul continued his work as a tentmaker (leatherworker) to supply the rent for his house (as in Acts 18:1-2 and 20:33-35). Paul was always a hard-working man, but he still took the time for people and received all who came to him.
More than anything, Paul used these years, preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ. Though Paul could not travel, he could teach and preach to all who came to him – and this he did. He also wrote letters; we have these two years of Roman custody to thank for the letters to the Ephesians, the Philippians, and the Colossians.
These two years were not wasted, and God didn’t waste Paul’s time in Rome. God never wastes our time, though we may waste it by not sensing God’s purpose in the moment.
Paul did this with all confidence, no one forbidding him. This has the idea of being completely unhindered. Paul’s chains and custody mattered nothing. The word of God was unhindered. As Paul came to Rome, the sea, the soldiers, and the snake all threatened his life. But God delivered him from them all. Through Paul, God shows that God’s man, fulfilling God’s will, cannot be stopped – though all kinds of difficulty may come in the way. Finally, even the disbelief of some of the Jews – or anyone else’s rejection of Jesus – will not hinder the gospel. The gospel will go forth and find those who will believe.
At the end of it all there is no end to the story because the history of the church continues this story on and on through the centuries. Trusting in Jesus, relying on the power of the Holy Spirit and the guidance of the Father, the word of God will continue to spread without hindrance and continue to change lives for the glory of God. The book of Acts really is a never-ending story.
God isn’t finished writing your story. Abiding in Him, the best chapters are yet to come!