Aidan was a seventh-century missionary in Scotland. He established a monastery on Lindisfarne island off the east coast of northern England, and he was well-known for his diligence in spreading the gospel, his kindness and patience with others, and his zeal in establishing churches and schools throughout the region. Because of his efforts, Aidan came to be known as “the apostle of the English.”
Like Aidan in his missionary zeal, Paul came to be known as the “apostle to the Gentiles” as he worked ceaselessly to spread the gospel wherever he went. Shipwrecked on Malta, Paul and the others received great kindness and hospitality from the islanders. But Paul also spent the next three months ministering to the sick and preaching the gospel.
Soon after, God finally brought Paul and company to Rome where they were greeted and encouraged by many Christians who came to welcome them. Again, Paul used the opportunity to preach Christ. Calling together the Jewish leaders, he explained himself and his message about “the kingdom of God, and from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets he tried to persuade them about Jesus” (v. 23).
Unfortunately, as in the past, not all who heard the message believed. There was great division and even animosity among the Jews toward the message. Over time, Paul applied the stinging passage of Isaiah 6 to them: because of the hardness of their hearts, they would be hearers who did not understand and those who saw but did not perceive.
Yet despite the opposition, Paul turned to the Gentiles, and the book of Acts ends on a positive note: Paul “proclaimed the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ—with all boldness and without hindrance!” (v. 31).