Luke wrote the Gospel of Luke and Acts. The purpose of the Gospel of Luke was to give an account of all that Jesus began both to do and to teach in His physical body. The purpose of Acts was to give an account of all that Jesus continued both to do and to teach through the Holy Spirit and His spiritual body, the church, after His ascension. Luke’s Gospel tells of the Jesus’ finished work on Calvary; Acts tells of Jesus’ unfinished work of proclaiming His finished work through His church in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Acts shows us the progression of the Gospel of the kingdom of God and His King, from Jerusalem to the uttermost parts of the earth, in light of national Jewish rejection of the King. In Acts we witness the gradual removal of the kingdom of God from the Jews based on their continued rejection of the renewed offer to receive Jesus Christ its King and the giving of the kingdom of God to the Gentiles who would produce the fruit of it by receiving Jesus Christ as King and living under His rule and authority.
In Matthew chapters 21 and 22 the Lord Jesus gave three prophetic parables to the Jewish nation showing their past, present, and future rejection of the kingdom of God and its King. Acts 28:28 is the complete and final fulfillment of the future rejection by the Jewish nation to receive Jesus Christ the King of the kingdom.
The Jews’ Past Rejection of the Kingdom of God (Matthew 21:28-36)
The majority of the Jews rejected God’s invitation through His prophets who sought to turn them to the kingdom of God and its King. They refused to repent and believe. They said that they were willing to do God’s will but wouldn’t do it. However there were some of those who said that they were unwilling to do God’s will that after hearing His invitation felt remorse and believed and entered into the kingdom.
In verses 33-36 the Lord showed the history of the nation’s past in continuously rejecting the invitation to receive the King and enter the kingdom. A truth that Steven powerfully made just before he was stoned to death in Acts 7:51-52 – “You men who are stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears are always resisting the Holy Spirit; you are doing just as your fathers did. Which one of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? They killed those who had previously announced the coming of the Righteous One, whose betrayers and murderers you have now become.”
The Jews' Present Rejection of the Kingdom of God (Matthew 21:37-44)
In verses 37-39 the Lord showed the Jews’ present rejection of the kingdom of God by rejecting its King and killing Him. At this point in Matthew’s Gospel the Jews were less than a week away from crucifying the Lord of glory.
In verses 40-44 the Lord showed the Jews and from their own judgment the righteous judgment of God on those who would reject and despise the reign of God through His Son. The kingdom of God would be taken from them and given to a nation that would produce its fruit.
The Jews’ Future Rejection of the Kingdom of God (Matthew 22:1-14)
In verses 1-4 there was a renewed offer to receive the King and His kingdom prophesied. Those who had in the past rejected the offer through the prophets and in the present rejected the offer through the Son were in the future going to be given one last invitation through the apostles and witnesses of the Lord.
In verses 5-6 there was a continued rejection of the King and His kingdom prophesied. This rejection of the King and His kingdom was manifest in both the Jews lack of concern for the things concerning the kingdom of God (verse 4) and a hatred for those issuing the invitation (verse 5). In essence the King prophesied the persecution and martyrdom of His apostles and witnesses during the church age.
In verse 7 the destruction of Jerusalem was prophesied as a result of the national Jewish rejection of the King and His kingdom fulfilling the judgment of the apostates in 21:41. This literally happened in A.D. 70 through the Roman General Titus and his armies.
In verses 8-10 the removal of the offer to the Jews with its replacement by an offer to the Gentiles was prophesied and this found its full and final fulfillment in Acts 28:25-28 which was also a fulfillment of Matthew 21:43.
In verses 11-14 the improper and irreverent application of the invitation by many was prophesied. This speaks of the apostasy and the turning of the grace of God into licentiousness during the times of the Gentiles in the church age – “For many are called, but few are chosen” (14). Therefore we are admonished – “Brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you…” (2 Peter 1:10).