ADVANTAGES

The final word spoken to the Jewish leaders is therefore one of rejection, but it is a rejection that they have taken upon themselves. Luke now has Paul stand truly as a prophet, speaking against the people of Israel as the prophets of old had done. Luke had not made full use of the Isaiah 6:9-10 passage in his Gospel, for that was the time of the first visitation of the prophet, and the rejection of that prophet was mitigated by the "ignorance" of the people. It has been the argument of the narrative of Acts that God did not stop making the offer of salvation to Israel through the proclamation of the raised Prophet Jesus. Only now, after so many attempts at persuading this people, is it time to employ this most chilling prophecy, spoken first of the ancient people but now "fulfilled" in the events of Luke's story. Paul has "gone to this people" and spoken the Word. And they have neither heard, nor seen, nor understood. But as the LXX version of the text makes clear, the blame is not God's nor is it the prophet's. The message itself does not deafen, or blind, or stun. It is because the people have grown obtuse that they do not perceive in the message about Jesus the realization of their own most authentic "hope."

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