17 Three days after we got there, Paul called together some of the Jewish leaders and said:
My friends, I have never done anything to hurt our people, and I have never gone against the customs of our ancestors. But in Jerusalem I was handed over as a prisoner to the Romans. 18 They looked into the charges against me and wanted to release me. They found that I had not done anything deserving death. 19 The Jewish leaders disagreed, so I asked to be tried by the Emperor.
But I don’t have anything to say against my own nation. 20 I am bound by these chains because of what we people of Israel hope for. That’s why I have called you here to talk about this hope of ours.
21 The leaders replied, “No one from Judea has written us a letter about you. And not one of them has come here to report on you or to say anything against you. 22 But we would like to hear what you have to say. We understand that people everywhere are against this new group.”
23 They agreed on a time to meet with Paul, and many of them came to his house. From early morning until late in the afternoon, Paul talked to them about God’s kingdom. He used the Law of Moses and the Books of the Prophets to try to win them over to Jesus.
24 Some of the leaders agreed with what Paul said, but others did not. 25 Since they could not agree among themselves, they started leaving. But Paul said, “The Holy Spirit said the right thing when he sent Isaiah the prophet 26 to tell our ancestors,
‘Go to these people
and tell them:
You will listen and listen,
but never understand.
You will look and look,
but never see.
27 All of you
have stubborn hearts.
Your ears are stopped up,
and your eyes are covered.
You cannot see or hear
If you could,
you would turn to me,
and I would heal you.’”
28-29 Paul said, “You may be sure that God wants to save the Gentiles! And they will listen.”
30 For two years Paul stayed in a rented house and welcomed everyone who came to see him. 31 He bravely preached about God’s kingdom and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ, and no one tried to stop him.