What God did through Paul’s imprisonment in Rome was amazing. The Lord did not need fancy methods in order for His gospel to go forth. He needed only a single servant, and this one was hidden away on a backstreet, in a small rented house, under armed guard. Yet for two years, a steady stream of hungry souls from all walks of life came to him in his makeshift jail (see Acts 28:30-31).
In fact, that little rented house served as the Holy Ghost’s Grand Central Headquarters for “Operation Rome.” Inside, God’s Spirit was raising up a devoted body of believers who would come out preaching the gospel with power and anointing. And they would take the good news of Christ to the farthest corners of the empire.
What is God trying to tell us through this account? Could the Lord be telling us here not to look for bigness in ministry, not to focus on numbers or techniques? Simply put, God is telling us that the Holy Spirit can lay hold of any common person, bring him to a place of total dependence, and through him reach communities, cities, even nations, from the most insignificant places.
Why did these people come streaming into Paul’s house? Why did they respond to mere word-of-mouth information to hear a poor, non-celebrity preacher? I say it was because that house was filled with the Spirit of God. Jesus was present there, the Holy Spirit convicted all who entered, and Christ’s presence healed their hungry souls.
Don’t misunderstand: I’m not preaching, “Be small.” I’m preaching, “God can use the most humble.” He can use anyone who is willing to be stripped of all confidence in the flesh and be dependent on Him for everything. And the Lord can do that with any Christian, from any walk of life. I know, because I’m an example of it. God found a skinny preacher in the Pennsylvania countryside and sent him to New York City to work with gangs and drug addicts. What could be more unlikely?
“But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty” (1 Corinthians 1:27).