Three days after Paul's arrival, he called together the local Jewish leaders. He said to them, "Brothers, I was arrested in Jerusalem and handed over to the Roman government, even though I had done nothing against our people or the customs of our ancestors.
The Romans tried me and wanted to release me, for they found no cause for the death sentence.
But when the Jewish leaders protested the decision, I felt it necessary to appeal to Caesar, even though I had no desire to press charges against my own people.
I asked you to come here today so we could get acquainted and so I could tell you that I am bound with this chain because I believe that the hope of Israel -- the Messiah -- has already come."
They replied, "We have heard nothing against you. We have had no letters from Judea or reports from anyone who has arrived here.
But we want to hear what you believe, for the only thing we know about these Christians is that they are denounced everywhere."
But after they had argued back and forth among themselves, they left with this final word from Paul: "The Holy Spirit was right when he said to our ancestors through Isaiah the prophet,
'Go and say to my people, You will hear my words, but you will not understand; you will see what I do, but you will not perceive its meaning.
For the hearts of these people are hardened, and their ears cannot hear, and they have closed their eyes -- so their eyes cannot see, and their ears cannot hear, and their hearts cannot understand, and they cannot turn to me and let me heal them.'
So I want you to realize that this salvation from God is also available to the Gentiles, and they will accept it."
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)