Acts Lesson Fifty-six

Acts Lesson Fifty-six: Acts 28:11-31 – Paul in Rome

11 After three months we set sail in an Alexandrian ship that had wintered at the island, with the Twin Brothers as its figurehead. 12 Putting in at Syracuse, we stayed three days. 13 From there, after making a circuit along the coast, we reached Rhegium. After one day a south wind sprang up, and the second day we came to Puteoli. 14 There we found believers and were invited to stay with them for seven days. 

And so we came to Rome. 15 Now the believers from there had heard the news about us and had come to meet us as far as the Forum of Appius and the Three Taverns. When Paul saw them, he thanked God and took courage. 16 When we entered Rome, Paul was permitted to stay by himself with the soldier who guarded him. 

17 After three days he called together the leaders of the Jews. When they had gathered he said to them: “Brothers, although I have done nothing against our people or the customs of our ancestors, I was delivered as a prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans. 18 After they examined me, they wanted to release me, since I had not committed a capital offense.  19 Because the Jews objected, I was compelled to appeal to Caesar; it was not as though I had any accusation against my nation. 20 For this reason I’ve asked to see you and speak to you. In fact, it is for the hope of Israel that I’m wearing this chain.” 

21 Then they said to him, “We haven’t received any letters about you from Judea. None of the brothers has come and reported or spoken anything evil about you. 22 But we would like to hear from you what you think. For concerning this sect, we are aware that it is spoken against everywhere.” 

23 After arranging a day with him, many came to him at his lodging. From dawn to dusk he expounded and witnessed about the kingdom of God. He tried to persuade them concerning Jesus from both the Law of Moses and the Prophets. 24 Some were persuaded by what he said, but others did not believe. 

25 Disagreeing among themselves, they began to leave after Paul made one statement: “The Holy Spirit correctly spoke through the prophet Isaiah to your  ancestors 26 when He said, 

Go to these people and say: 

You will listen and listen, 

yet never understand; 

and you will look and look, 

yet never perceive. 

27 For the hearts of these people 

have grown callous, 

their ears are hard of hearing, 

and they have shut their eyes; 

otherwise they might see with their eyes 

and hear with their ears, 

understand with their heart, 

and be converted, 

and I would heal them. 

28 Therefore, let it be known to you that this saving work of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will listen!” [29 After he said these things, the Jews departed, while engaging in a prolonged debate among themselves.] 

30 Then he stayed two whole years in his own rented house. And he welcomed all who visited him, 31 proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching the things concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with full boldness and without hindrance. (HCSB)

I’m going to split this lesson into three parts.

  • Sailing to Rome – verses 11-16.
  • Paul’s first meeting with the Roman Jews – verses 17-22.
  • The Jew’s reaction to the Gospel – verses 23-31.

Sailing to Rome

The group spent three months in Malta before continuing their journey to Rome. Based on standard sailing times in the Mediterranean, they likely left around the beginning of February. Let’s look at some details from this section.

  • The twin brothers were tied to Greek mythology. Their names were Castor and Pollux, the sons of Zeus.
    • They were considered protectors of sailors.
    • They were a common feature of Roman ships as a plea for safety on the seas.
    • When their constellation was visible in the sky, it was considered a favorable omen for a smooth voyage.
  • Luke doesn’t specify if all 276 people continued on this ship or not. In the end, it doesn’t matter since the narrative is about Paul going to Rome.
  • The first stop on the voyage was at Syracuse, about 80 miles away.
    • Syracuse is located in the eastern section of southern Sicily.
    • There were two harbors there.
    • During the Roman period, it was the capital of the island.
    • Luke doesn’t give details for the three-day delay. It is possible the ship was doing business, or the winds were not favorable during that time.
  • The second stop was at Rhenium, 70 miles from Syracuse.
    • Rhenium is located at the southern tip of the boot of Italy, opposite Sicily and at the entrance to the straits of Messina.
    • It’s possible this leg didn’t go as planned as Luke says they “sailed around,” which may indicate the ship needed to tack against the wind.
  • The next stop was at Puteoli, about 210 miles from Rhenium through the straits of Messina. 
    • They encountered a favorable wind as the ship made very good time between the stops.
    • In Paul’s day, Puteoli was likely the main port in Italy for the grain fleet.
    • It is now known as Pozzuoli.
    • It was located about eight miles northwest of Naples and 130 miles by foot to Rome.
  • In their final stop before Rome, the party met a group of Christians who invited them to stay for seven days.
    • We shouldn’t be surprised that a Christian community was already established in Puteoli when Paul arrived.
      • The edict of Claudius, which Luke referred to in Acts 18:2, dealt with a dispute in the Jewish community in Rome.
      • The dispute appears to have involved Christ and is evidence the Gospel had reached Italy by a.d. 49.
      • Paul’s letter to the Romans is possibly the best evidence for a Christian church being established well before Paul’s arrival.
    • We might also marvel at the amount of freedom Paul enjoyed while being in custody. The freedom he enjoyed speaks to the level of trust Paul had established with his Roman guards.
  • The group now completed the journey to Rome on foot. The journey was about 130 miles and would have taken five days by foot.
    • On the Appian Way, about forty-three miles south of Rome, was the stopping place known as the Forum of Appius. It was here that Paul first encountered Christians living in Rome.
    • The group continued on, and about ten miles later, they were met by more believers at a way station known as Three Taverns.
    • It’s possible the two groups of Christians were from different house churches within the capital. Only here are Roman Christians mentioned in Acts. They would serve as a constant source of encouragement to Paul during his time in Rome.
  • Verse sixteen acts as a bridge between the travel narrative and Paul’s witness in Rome. Although Paul was given quite a bit of freedom, he was still under the supervision of a guard. Paul was a witness in chains.

Paul’s First Meeting With the Roman Jews

It’s interesting to note that as Luke begins to wind down the events in Acts, Paul’s witness is focused primarily on the Jews living in Rome. The reason for Paul’s journey to Rome was his appeal to Caesar. However, Luke doesn’t include anything regarding that meeting. Maybe the reader shouldn’t be surprised after all. A familiar pattern is repeated here; Paul’s initial preaching to the Jews, which is initially received in a favorable manner, followed by resistance, and finally, Paul turning to the Gentiles. Luke has emphasized this theme, Jewish rejection and Gentile acceptance of the Gospel, throughout Acts. Now, let’s take a closer look at Paul’s meeting with the Roman Jews.

  • Paul initiated the first conversation with the Jews.
  • Looking back at verse seventeen, it was a meeting with the Jewish leaders in Rome.
  • Rome had a large Jewish community, but it wasn’t a homogenous and seamless community. From the context of the passage, it appears there were several synagogues since “many” leaders came to him.
  • Paul then gives an abridged version of the circumstances that brought him to Rome. 
    • He hadn’t done anything against his fellow Jews or their customs.
    • He had been arrested in Jerusalem and handed over to the Romans.
    • The Romans found no substance to the charges against Paul and wanted to release him.
    • However, at every step the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem objected to Paul’s release.
    • Paul had no accusation against Israel.
      • He was a loyal Jew.
      • He was not guilty of any crime against the Jews.
      • He was innocent of any ill intent toward them.
      • He only wanted their commitment to Christ.
    • As stated in previous lessons, the real point of contention between Paul and the Jews was Paul’s belief in the resurrection of Jesus, that Jesus is both Messiah and Lord.
  • The Jewish leaders in Rome told Paul they hadn’t heard anything about him, either in official correspondence or by word-of-mouth. Although this may surprise us, we must also remember that Paul had left for Rome as late fall was setting in and, as evidenced by the storm they encountered, winter wasn’t far behind. 
    • The most likely reason for the Roman Jews not to have about Paul is because of winter and the delay in correspondence.
    • The other possible, albeit less likely reason, is that the Roman Jews were making a conscious effort to dissociate themselves from Paul and escape any fallout from the result of Paul’s trial.
  • Their second response, to hear about the Christian “sect,” indicates a lack of knowledge about the movement. This may seem puzzling since there was a well-established Christian community in Rome. It’s possible this lack of knowledge was due to the edict of Claudius.
    • The edict was issued about ten years prior to Paul’s arrival in Rome.
    • It involved a dispute within the Jewish synagogue over Christ.
    • If the Jewish leaders really didn’t know much about the Christians, it would seem the edict caused the synagogues to isolate themselves from the Christians completely.
    • It’s also possible the Roman Jews were being diplomatic and were keeping as much space as possible from the situation involving Paul.
  • From the Roman Jew’s actions, we deduce they found nothing wrong with Paul and had no accusation against him.
  • The first encounter with the Roman Jews focused on Paul’s innocence.
    • Paul didn’t have a martyr’s complex.
    • He didn’t come to Rome to die.
    • From the context of the last few chapters in Acts, it’s clear Paul expected to be released.
    • After his release, he likely felt he would evangelize Rome and then move west towards Spain.

The Jew’s Reaction to the Gospel 

In contrast to verse seventeen, it appears that a significantly larger contingent of Jews visited Paul in this section. Let’s take a deeper look at the final section of Acts.

  • Luke mentions that “many” came to see Paul. In Paul’s first meeting with the Roman Jews, he only met with the leaders. Now, it would appear that others joined in the meeting with Paul.
  • Since Paul was under guard, the Jews were required to visit him in his quarters. 
  • Paul spent the entire day presenting the Gospel to them.
  • Paul’s presentation focused on two terms.
    • The kingdom of God.
      • The Jews always looked to the coming of the Messiah.
      • When the Messiah came, God’s kingdom would be restored in a renewed Israel.
    • Jesus.
      • Jesus is at the center of God’s sovereign rule.
      • God’s people are gathered around Jesus.
  • The message throughout Acts had been this had already occurred with the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.
  • Paul presented the same message to the Roman Jews.
    • The Law of Moses.
    • The words of the Prophets.
    • Luke doesn’t specify which texts were used, but it’s safe to conclude they would have spoken about the Messiah’s suffering and resurrection.
    • Jesus also used the Law of Moses and the Prophets to speak about himself in Luke 24:27, 44-47.
    • Peter did the same in Acts 2:17-36 and 3:12-26.
    • Paul had previously spoken the same message in Pisidian Antioch in Acts 13:32-39.
  • The result was a sharp division between the Roman Jews.
    • Some were persuaded by Paul’s message.
    • Others refused to believe Paul.
    • However, the synagogue as a whole didn’t believe Paul’s message.
  • As the Jews were arguing or discussing Paul’s message, Paul put in one final shot by quoting Old Testament Scripture. Paul’s use of this passage prompted the Jews to leave en masse.
    • Paul uses a passage talking about future unbelief among the Jews and not a passage about the Messiah.
    • The term “correctly” in the original Greek means “the truth.”
    • The Holy Spirit spoke the truth through the prophet Isaiah about the unbelief in Israel.
    • Paul also begins to create “space” between himself and the unbelieving Jews.
      • In verse seventeen, he addressed them as brothers.
      • Now he addresses them with the term “your ancestors.”
      • Paul hadn’t stopped being a Jew, but his faith in Jesus separated him from the Roman Jews who refused to believe.
      • Paul wasn’t one of the hardhearted Jewish ancestors who rejected the Gospel.
  • The section from Isaiah that Paul quotes is from the Septuagint.
    • The Greek version of the prophecy focuses on the people’s stubbornness in refusing to accept the message.
    • Three types of perception are highlighted in the text.
      • Their eyes are closed to seeing the truth.
      • Their ears are closed to hearing the truth.
      • Their hearts are closed to accepting the truth.
    • An understanding of the message would have resulted in repentance and receiving God’s forgiveness and healing.
    • The Roman Jews matched the prophecy in Isaiah.
      • They heard Paul preach the Gospel, yet the hardness of their heart caused them to reject it.
      • In Paul’s message to the Jews, the Greek verb “to hear” occurs five times at key points.
      • The quote from Isaiah refers to hearing three times.
      • The point is hearing isn’t really hearing if there is no response to the message.
      • The final time Paul uses the Greek verb “to hear” is when he is talking about the Gentiles.
      • The Gentiles would hear with receptive hearts and repent.
  • As the Roman Jews left Paul, he declared the Gentiles would be the recipients of the Gospel.
    • However, we shouldn’t interpret this as meaning Paul had finally given up on the Jews.
    • Paul was always able to reach at least some Jews in his missionary journeys, including here in Rome. 
    • As Acts concludes, Luke writes that Paul welcomed all who visited him. This likely included some Jews.
    • The statement about the Gentiles responding to the message is not a declaration about Jewish exclusion from God’s Kingdom; it’s about the inclusion of Gentiles into God’s Kingdom.
  • Paul spent two years in Rome preaching the Gospel to all who visited him.
    • Although Paul was, in essence, under house arrest, he was still given the freedom to entertain visitors. 
    • Paul preached with boldness.
    • Paul preached without hindrance. This likely means the Romans allowed him to speak freely, seeing nothing dangerous or subversive in his message.
    • During this time, Paul was also busy writing epistles.
      • Ephesians.
      • Philippians.
      • Colossians.
      • Philemon.
    • Most believe Paul was released after this two-ear period, around a.d. 63.
      • Paul likely continued his evangelism in the eastern portion of the empire.
      • It’s also possible Paul fulfilled his desire to reach Spain with the Gospel.
      • In 2 Timothy 4:16-18, we read of a second trial containing a tone of resignation over Paul’s future.
      • Paul was beheaded in Rome by order of Emperor Nero around a.d. 67.
  • At the end of Acts, we see a Gospel that is without chains, victorious over every barrier of superstition and human prejudice.
  • Although Luke ends Acts rather abruptly, it wasn’t meant as a biography of Peter or Paul. Acts is a narrative about the early church’s expansion and influence on the world.
  • However, Acts is not a finished book. Chapter 29 is still being written. It is the longest chapter containing the largest amount of people involved in evangelism. Chapter 29 is being written by us, by every believer from the time of Paul until Christ’s return. The question posed to every follower of Christ is, “what will your contribution be?”


  • We need to have patience as we encounter storms and see things through to the end. Paul’s life was an endless series of storms, some more severe than others. Yet, Paul never lost sight of the commission he was given, taking the message of the Gospel wherever Christ sent him. Do our lives exhibit the same traits? Or do we put into the nearest port and call off our journey as soon as things get rough? 
  • Don’t be afraid to preach the Gospel. Fear was never an issue with Paul; it shouldn’t be with us, either. However, some people feel they aren’t qualified or are just uneasy talking about the Gospel. If your church has any classes on evangelism, join the class. If you aren’t in a small group, join one and bring up the topic of evangelism. You could even ask who is actively involved in evangelism and your desire to participate with them and learn. There are numerous good books about sharing your faith. A couple that I have read are Share Jesus Without Fear and Evangelism Is…How to Share Jesus with Passion and Confidence.
  • Don’t limit yourself to evangelizing only a specific group of people. Paul always had a heart for his fellow Jews, yet he only had marginal success with that group. Instead, the Holy Spirit led him to evangelize the Gentiles, and the results were amazing. There’s a lesson for us here. Don’t be dogmatic in your evangelism. You may have a preference but go where the Spirit leads you and watch an amazing harvest unfold. 

Acts Lesson Fifty-five

Acts Lesson Fifty-five: Acts 27:39-28:10 – Shipwrecked on Malta

39 When daylight came, they did not recognize the land but sighted a bay with a beach. They planned to run the ship ashore if they could. 40 After casting off the anchors, they left them in the sea, at the same time loosening the ropes that held the rudders. Then they hoisted the foresail to the wind and headed for the beach. 41 But they struck a sandbar and ran the ship aground. The bow jammed fast and remained immovable, while the stern began to break up by the pounding of the waves. 

42 The soldiers’ plan was to kill the prisoners so that no one could swim away and escape. 43 But the centurion kept them from carrying out their plan because he wanted to save Paul, so he ordered those who could swim to jump overboard first and get to land. 44 The rest were to follow, some on planks and some on debris from the ship. In this way, everyone safely reached the shore. 

28 Once ashore, we then learned that the island was called Malta. The local people  showed us extraordinary kindness, for they lit a fire and took us all in, since it was raining and cold. As Paul gathered a bundle of brushwood and put it on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat and fastened itself to his hand. When the local people saw the creature hanging from his hand, they said to one another, “This man is probably a murderer, and though he has escaped the sea, Justice does not allow him to live!” However, he shook the creature off into the fire and suffered no harm. They expected that he would swell up or suddenly drop dead. But after they waited a long time and saw nothing unusual happen to him, they changed their minds and said he was a god. 

        Now in the area around that place was an estate belonging to the leading man of the island, named Publius, who welcomed us and entertained us hospitably for three days. Publius’s father was in bed suffering from fever and dysentery. Paul went to him, and praying and laying his hands on him, he healed him. After this, the rest of those on the island who had diseases also came and were cured. 10 So they heaped many honors on us, and when we sailed, they gave us what we needed. (HCSB)

I’ll be splitting this lesson into two parts.

  • The shipwreck – verses 27:39-44.
  • Their time on Malta – verses 28:1-10.

The Shipwreck

As the sun comes up on the people aboard the ship, they come to the conclusion they didn’t know where they were. However, they did see a beach that offered the opportunity to sail the ship, so they hoped, onto land after their two-plus-week adventure of riding out a storm. Let’s take a look at this section.

  • The best way to get everyone to shore and assess the condition of the ship was to run it aground on the sand of the beach.
  • Since they now intended to sail the ship onto the beach, they no longer needed the anchors to hold them in place. The crew cut the rope securing the anchors to the ship.
    • A logical question would be, why didn’t they raise the anchors instead of cutting the rope?
    • It’s possible they knew the ship was beyond repair, and there was no need to keep them.
    • It could have been more dangerous to try and raise the anchors, either one at a time or all at once, under the current sea conditions.
  • The rudders of ancient ships were large paddles. During a storm, they would be raised and tied down on the deck of the ship. Now, it was necessary to lower the rudders and try and steer the ship onto the beach.
  • The foresail was in the front of the ship and was often a primary means of guiding ships as they sailed.
  • Their plan was going well.
    • They were moving again.
    • They were headed towards the beach, their intended destination.
  • Then, they hit a sandbar, and further forward progress became impossible.
  • Although Luke doesn’t specify, it would appear from the context of the passage, both this one and the preceding lesson, that the ship was now in an area where the waves were breaking as they neared the shored. 
    • The resulting waves crashing on the back of the ship were steadily breaking up the rear of the ship.
    • One gallon of water weighs 8.3 pounds.
    • It is easy to estimate that each wave would have hundreds of gallons of water crashing against the ship. This would translate to thousands of pounds of force repeatedly hitting the ship, which wasn’t moving.
  • It became apparent to those on the ship they wouldn’t be able to stay onboard, and if they didn’t get off quickly, they were in danger of being injured or killed as the ship continued to break apart.
  • The soldiers then decided to kill the prisoners before getting off the ship was necessary. 
    • Roman law held guards personally responsible for those placed in their charge.
    • Guards who allowed prisoners to escape could be executed in these cases.
  • However, Julius stopped the soldiers from killing the prisoners because he wanted to preserve Paul’s life. Let’s look at some components of this truth.
    • We see another example of a Roman official who intervened to save Paul’s life.
    • It is evident that Paul’s presence on the ship was responsible for the preservation of the others on the ship, specifically the prisoners.
  • With the skiff now gone, the only way to shore was either by swimming or holding onto pieces of the ship.
    • Those who could swim were ordered to go first.
    • The rest made it to shore by holding onto floating pieces of the ship.
  • Luke then reiterates that everyone on board made it safely to shore.
  • From Acts 27:23 on, it is clear Paul’s presence on the ship and God’s protection of Paul were responsible for the deliverance of all 276 people on the ship.
  • In an interesting reversal of fortunes where many ancient shipwrecks were attributed to one person on board the ship, here the opposite occurred. Paul had advised against sailing, and if they had listened to him, they would not have experienced the storm. It was Paul’s presence that was the key to the deliverance of all on board.

Their Time on Malta

I will split this section into two parts.

  • Recovering from the storm – verses 1-6.
  • Ministry in Malta – verses 7-10.

Remembering back to Acts 27:39, all the people aboard the ship had no idea where they were. Even the seasoned sailors were now in a new location. For us today, exploring and visiting new places can be quite exciting; however, in the ancient world, that was not always the case. Sometimes those new locations didn’t want visitors, and the situation could instantly turn violent. Thankfully, that wasn’t the case, as those aboard the ship all make it to land.

  • They found out they were on Malta. Luke doesn’t tell us whether or not anyone on board previously knew of Malta, but that isn’t relevant for the events that followed.
  • Although Malta wasn’t on their original path, it did offer a relatively easy journey to Rome.
  • From the actions of the residents of Malta, they may have become accustomed to shipwrecks along their shore.
    • They treated passengers with kindness.
    • They lit a fire to warm them and help them to dry.
    • It’s possible they also provided some type of shelter to protect them from the rain.
  • Paul, never afraid of hard work, assisted in the gathering of firewood. However, in gathering the firewood, Paul brought along an unwanted visitor.
    • Because of the cold and damp conditions, the cold-blooded snake was in a semi-hibernating state.
    • Whether the snake was directly in the fire or close, the heat revived the reptile, and as Paul placed the firewood, the snake bites and locked onto Paul’s hand.
    • The Greek term Luke uses to denote the snake is normally used to identify a viper. 
    • However, this presents a problem. Modern-day Malta has no poisonous snakes. 
      • It’s entirely possible in the intervening 2,000 years that all poisonous snakes have been eradicated from Malta.
      • It’s also possible the snake wasn’t a viper but a harmless species of snake.
  • Although there is doubt from the text on whether or not the snake was a viper, the natives of Malta had no such reservation. They viewed the snake as venomous and expected Paul to perish.
    • The residents of Malta obviously knew their island better than we do.
    • Their reaction to the situation is the best clue as to how we should interpret the classification of the serpent.
  • From the perspective of the residents and the fact everyone had survived a shipwreck, they were convinced that Paul was receiving divine judgment.
    • Paul may have survived the shipwreck, but he wouldn’t survive the snake bite.
    • Their view reflected a common ancient concept.
      • The Romans told a story of a prisoner who escaped a shipwreck but died from a snake bite while recovering on the beach.
      • Jewish tradition had a story of a murderer who was killed by a viper.
    • But Paul was no criminal, and he shook the snake off of his hand and continued with what he was doing, showing no adverse effects from the snake bite.
  • As the residents of the island realized Paul was suffering no ill effects from the bite, they changed their view of Paul.
    • Paul was no longer a criminal receiving punishment for his actions.
    • Instead, in their minds, Paul was a god!
  • The reader might expect Luke to expound upon this incident and provide details on how the islanders reacted when they decided he was a god and how Paul handled their reaction.
  • But that wasn’t the point for Luke in writing this section. Luke was emphasizing the fact Paul was completely under the protection  of God.
    • Paul was delivered from a storm at sea.
    • Paul didn’t die after being bitten by a viper.
    • In both cases, Paul was the beneficiary of miracles.
    • Throughout Acts, miracles are associated with service to God. The miracles provide the opportunity for sharing the Gospel. 
    • Although Luke doesn’t give any evidence that Paul shared the Gospel while on Malta, it would seem to be entirely out of character if he didn’t seize the opportunity to talk about Jesus with the residents of the island. 

Luke now switches scenes from the initial landing on the beach to Paul’s healing ministry on Malta. What Luke doesn’t specify is how much time elapses between the initial landing on the beach and what transpires beginning in verse seven. We could make an educated guess based on the normal sailing window in the Mediterranean, and it was around late September to early October when they encountered the storm. Include the accepted norm of sailing beginning again in February and the likelihood they would have started their trip as soon as it was possible, then anywhere from one to three weeks could have transpired between their initial arrival on Malta and the healing ministry beginning. Let’s look at these four verses in detail.

  • Publius is identified as the leading man on the island. Researchers have discovered inscriptions on Malta with the same name and title.
  • Luke says that Publius welcomed “us” and showed hospitality for three days.
  • Who are the “us” Luke is referring to?
    • It’s possible it includes all 276 people aboard the ship. However, that is unlikely given the fact that this is a substantial number of people to stay in one place, even if it was the residence of the leading official of the island.
    • It makes more sense Luke is referring to the small Christian delegation.
  • Publius’s father was sick with fever and dysentery. 
    • It may have also included gastric fever caused by a microbe in goat’s milk.
    • At one time, it was so common it was referred to as Malta fever.
  • Paul went to the sick man and laid hands on him while praying.
    • This is the only time in Acts where praying and laying on of hands occurs together in a healing.
      • They occur together in commissioning narratives.
      • Paul was healed of his blindness when Ananias laid hands on him, but prayer wasn’t mentioned.
      • The closest parallel is when Jesus healed Peter’s mother-in-law in Luke 4:38f.
    • The news of the official’s father being healed spread like wildfire across the island.
    • Luke says the rest of those on the island who were sick came to Paul and were healed.
    • When it came time for everyone to continue the journey to Rome, the residents of Malta honored them and provided provisions for the remainder of their journey.
    • Luke’s emphasis on Maltese hospitality bears a closer look.
      • They welcomed the shipwrecked party with “extraordinary kindness.”
      • Publius welcomed them and showed hospitality.
      • The travelers were honored and given provisions as they readied to depart for Rome.
      • The hospital the Maltese extended reminds us of the hospitality the Sidonians showed in Acts 27:3.
      • Perhaps Luke was showing that simple pagan “barbarians” could extend hospitality to others and possessed the potential to become Christians.
      • Their hospitality would be a stark contrast to the reception Paul would receive from the Jews in Rome.


  • As we go through life, there will often be times when things don’t go according to plan. In this passage, it was the ship striking the sandbar and breaking apart. We shouldn’t be surprised when we hit “sandbars” in our lives. When that happens, we shouldn’t panic or lose sight of the end goal. Instead, make adjustments as necessary and continue forward with whatever God has for you to do.
  • Expect hospitality and friendship in unlikely places. It may not happen often, but God will present opportunities when we least expect it for us to be blessed and to bless others. Friendship and encounters with others should never be a one-way street unless it is us, blessing unbelievers. 
  • Use your talents and spiritual gifts whenever the opportunity arises. Too often, we try to live our “ministry” in a box instead of using it freely. For example, a former pastor of mine related a story about a very famous “healing” minister who was traveling through the area and charging fees to attend a healing conference in an auditorium. The former pastor said if this person really had a gift of healing, he should be visiting the hospitals free of charge instead of selling tickets and making a hefty “appearance” fee.