The Accusations Against Paul
24:1 After five days the high priest Ananias came down with some elders and an attorney named Tertullus, and they brought formal charges against Paul to the governor. 24:2 When Paul had been summoned, Tertullus began to accuse him, saying, “We have experienced a lengthy time of peace through your rule, and reforms are being made in this nation through your foresight. 24:3 Most excellent Felix, we acknowledge this everywhere and in every way with all gratitude. 24:4 But so that I may not delay you any further, I beg you to hear us briefly with your customary graciousness. 24:5 For we have found this man to be a troublemaker, one who stirs up riots among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes. 24:6 He even tried to desecrate the temple, so we arrested him. 24:7 [[EMPTY]] 24:8 When you examine him yourself, you will be able to learn from him about all these things we are accusing him of doing.” 24:9 The Jews also joined in the verbal attack, claiming that these things were true.
Paul’s Defense Before Felix
24:10 When the governor gestured for him to speak, Paul replied, “Because I know that you have been a judge over this nation for many years, I confidently make my defense. 24:11 As you can verify for yourself, not more than twelve days ago I went up to Jerusalem to worship. 24:12 They did not find me arguing with anyone or stirring up a crowd in the temple courts or in the synagogues or throughout the city, 24:13 nor can they prove to you the things they are accusing me of doing. 24:14 But I confess this to you, that I worship the God of our ancestors according to the Way (which they call a sect), believing everything that is according to the law and that is written in the prophets. 24:15 I have a hope in God (a hope that these men themselves accept too) that there is going to be a resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous. 24:16 This is the reason I do my best to always have a clear conscience toward God and toward people. 24:17 After several years I came to bring to my people gifts for the poor and to present offerings, 24:18 which I was doing when they found me in the temple, ritually purified, without a crowd or a disturbance. 24:19 But there are some Jews from the province of Asia who should be here before you and bring charges, if they have anything against me. 24:20 Or these men here should tell what crime they found me guilty of when I stood before the council, 24:21 other than this one thing I shouted out while I stood before them: ‘I am on trial before you today concerning the resurrection of the dead.’”
24:22 Then Felix, who understood the facts concerning the Way more accurately, adjourned their hearing, saying, “When Lysias the commanding officer comes down, I will decide your case.” 24:23 He ordered the centurion to guard Paul, but to let him have some freedom, and not to prevent any of his friends from meeting his needs.
Lord, Your servant Paul was accused by the same type of apostate and dishonorable religious leaders as was out Lord Jesus, but it was not yet time for him to die — so he was protected by a corrupt but self-interested governor of Rome. May I be assured that as long as You choose to use me as Your instrument no power one heaven or earth may for long block my path or take my life.
Accusations are brought by the religious leaders against Paul, primarily formulated by their attorney, Tertullus.
Paul, in his defense before Felix, noted that falsehoods in the accusations and the ease with which they could be proven so. Felix was more familiar with Christianity than the religious leaders knew and was therefore unpersuaded.
Felix has Paul confined as he delayed his decision for the arrival of “Lysias the commanding officer”. Felix allows Paul’s associates to visit and to bring him things.
The same sort of unethical men, enemies of the truth, attacked the servants of Jesus just as they had attacked Him.
How could these religious leaders continue to doubt Jesus after all of the proofs of the Old Testament prophesies about Jesus and all of the miracles through Him and His followers?
The better-informed that people become about true Biblical Christianity the less prone they are to believe lies, this is true for the person next door and the person in power (religious or secular).
When have you observed a consistent Biblical-Christian being trusted as truthful because of the witness of their life?
Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you a misunderstanding, by a Christian or a non-Christian, of Biblical Christianity.
Today I will correct a misunderstanding about Biblical Christianity, perhaps in a conversation with a friend, perhaps online, perhaps in a letter-to-the editor. I will be polite, respectful, avoid the use of insider-religious terminology, and I will avoid being emotionally-argumentative but will stick to the facts.
Paul Speaks Repeatedly to Felix
24:24 Some days later, when Felix arrived with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish, he sent for Paul and heard him speak about faith in Christ Jesus. 24:25 While Paul was discussing righteousness, self-control, and the coming judgment, Felix became frightened and said, “Go away for now, and when I have an opportunity, I will send for you.” 24:26 At the same time he was also hoping that Paul would give him money, and for this reason he sent for Paul as often as possible and talked with him. 24:27 After two years had passed, Porcius Festus succeeded Felix, and because he wanted to do the Jews a favor, Felix left Paul in prison.
Paul Appeals to Caesar
25:1 Now three days after Festus arrived in the province, he went up to Jerusalem from Caesarea. 25:2 So the chief priests and the most prominent men of the Jews brought formal charges against Paul to him. 25:3 Requesting him to do them a favor against Paul, they urged Festus to summon him to Jerusalem, planning an ambush to kill him along the way. 25:4 Then Festus replied that Paul was being kept at Caesarea, and he himself intended to go there shortly. 25:5 “So,” he said, “let your leaders go down there with me, and if this man has done anything wrong, they may bring charges against him.”
25:6 After Festus had stayed not more than eight or ten days among them, he went down to Caesarea, and the next day he sat on the judgment seat and ordered Paul to be brought. 25:7 When he arrived, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood around him, bringing many serious charges that they were not able to prove. 25:8 Paul said in his defense, “I have committed no offense against the Jewish law or against the temple or against Caesar.” 25:9 But Festus, wanting to do the Jews a favor, asked Paul, “Are you willing to go up to Jerusalem and be tried before me there on these charges?” 25:10 Paul replied, “I am standing before Caesar’s judgment seat, where I should be tried. I have done nothing wrong to the Jews, as you also know very well. 25:11 If then I am in the wrong and have done anything that deserves death, I am not trying to escape dying, but if not one of their charges against me is true, no one can hand me over to them. I appeal to Caesar!” 25:12 Then, after conferring with his council, Festus replied, “You have appealed to Caesar; to Caesar you will go!”
Lord, You used the foolishness and hatefulness of the Jewish religious leaders and the Roman political leaders to bring Paul into places where he would not otherwise be allowed to preach Christ. May I not fear speaking honestly when asked the reason for my hope because I am sure that You have opened that opportunity and allowed me to be Your instrument.
Felix allowed Paul to visit him while he was his prisoner, hoping for a bribe, but Paul used those opportunities to evangelize Felix and those around him.
The religious leaders appeal to Festus to move Paul to Jerusalem, with a secret plan to ambush and murder him. Festus instructs them to present their charges at Caesarea - where Paul is and he is headed.
In Caesarea Paul again states his innocence and reminds Festus that he knows he is innocent. Festus wants to curry favor with the religious leader and asks Paul to return to Jerusalem - at which point Paul appeals to Caesar - guaranteeing he will be brought to Rome, as God prophesied - providing an opportunity to preach Christ there and also making his death probable.
That Paul used every possible opportunity to evangelize, even the misguided motives of the man who kept him jailed.
Isn’t it amazing how the political process ground continuously forward, the players unaware of the greater spiritual battle raging all round them; the rules and traditions of man forcing them to act without caring or knowing what were the consequences?
Contemplate the sacrificial commitment of Paul to the mission of evangelism.
When have you observed political and religious authorities, both with their own personal agendas, thrashing about as the Lord God caused His purpose to be completed?
Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you faithful men and women of Christ for whom He wants you to pray.
Today I will pray for protection for faithful men and women of Christ from evil schemers, agents of the enemy, intentionally or unintentionally so; in particular someone I know who is under apparent attack from the enemy. I will also pray for the wisdom to understand the realities of the way that the world, apart from Christ, functions; to interact wisely and to not underestimate the impact of ignorance, greed, and evil.
Festus Asks King Agrippa for Advice
25:13 After several days had passed, King Agrippa and Bernice arrived at Caesarea to pay their respects to Festus.
25:14 While they were staying there many days, Festus explained Paul’s case to the king to get his opinion, saying, “There is a man left here as a prisoner by Felix. 25:15 When I was in Jerusalem, the chief priests and the elders of the Jews informed me about him, asking for a sentence of condemnation against him.
25:16 I answered them that it was not the custom of the Romans to hand over anyone before the accused had met his accusers face to face and had been given an opportunity to make a defense against the accusation. 25:17 So after they came back here with me, I did not postpone the case, but the next day I sat on the judgment seat and ordered the man to be brought.
25:18 When his accusers stood up, they did not charge him with any of the evil deeds I had suspected. 25:19 Rather they had several points of disagreement with him about their own religion and about a man named Jesus who was dead, whom Paul claimed to be alive.
25:20 Because I was at a loss how I could investigate these matters, I asked if he were willing to go to Jerusalem and be tried there on these charges.
25:21 But when Paul appealed to be kept in custody for the decision of His Majesty the Emperor, I ordered him to be kept under guard until I could send him to Caesar.” 25:22 Agrippa said to Festus, “I would also like to hear the man myself.” “Tomorrow,” he replied, “you will hear him.”
Paul Before King Agrippa and Bernice
25:23 So the next day Agrippa and Bernice came with great pomp and entered the audience hall, along with the senior military officers and the prominent men of the city. When Festus gave the order, Paul was brought in. 25:24 Then Festus said, “King Agrippa, and all you who are present here with us, you see this man about whom the entire Jewish populace petitioned me both in Jerusalem and here, shouting loudly that he ought not to live any longer.
25:25 But I found that he had done nothing that deserved death, and when he appealed to His Majesty the Emperor, I decided to send him. 25:26 But I have nothing definite to write to my lord about him. Therefore I have brought him before you all, and especially before you, King Agrippa, so that after this preliminary hearing I may have something to write. 25:27 For it seems unreasonable to me to send a prisoner without clearly indicating the charges against him.”
Lord, You preserved the life of Paul, despite the efforts of the religious leaders to murder him. Your purpose to create an opportunity for him to tell Your story before increasingly higher-levels of Roman a officials and the members of their court. May I hold-tight to Your promise to provide for me a future (a purpose) and a hope (heaven) as I serve You with courage.
Festus sought advice from King Agrippa as to the matter of Paul, who was transferred to his care and judgment when he assumed power following Felix.
King Agrippa heard Festus' report that the religious leaders failed to bring any charges that he felt equipped to evaluate so he asked Paul if he would return to Jerusalem for that purpose — at which time Paul appealed to Caesar — the right of any Roman citizen.
Agrippa decided that he wanted to hear from Paul.
Paul appeared before King Agrippa, Bernice, and many of power and society in Caesarea. Festus introduced Paul as a sort of celebrity, explaining that he did not know how to explain to Caesar the reason for sending Paul to him since there were no legitimate charges.
It was Biblically-wrong of the religious leaders to bring Paul before secular authorities.
Why would Festus concern himself with the quality of the charges against Paul when he passed him on to Caesar?
Festus’s understanding of Paul and Jesus was so shallow that he merely thought of him as a celebrity whose fame had turned to infamy.
When have you observed a Christian wrongfully bringing a fellow Christian before secular authorities when they should have first tried to find a solution within the Christian family?
Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you a conflict among Christians that needs to be kept out of the secular court system.
Today I will pray for peace and wisdom as two Christians who are at-odds choose Christian conciliation over secular courtroom warfare.
Paul Offers His Defense
26:1 So Agrippa said to Paul, “You have permission to speak for yourself.” Then Paul held out his hand and began his defense:
26:2 “Regarding all the things I have been accused of by the Jews, King Agrippa, I consider myself fortunate that I am about to make my defense before you today, 26:3 because you are especially familiar with all the customs and controversial issues of the Jews. Therefore I ask you to listen to me patiently.
26:4 Now all the Jews know the way I lived from my youth, spending my life from the beginning among my own people and in Jerusalem. 26:5 They know, because they have known me from time past, if they are willing to testify, that according to the strictest party of our religion, I lived as a Pharisee.
26:6 And now I stand here on trial because of my hope in the promise made by God to our ancestors, 26:7 a promise that our twelve tribes hope to attain as they earnestly serve God night and day. Concerning this hope the Jews are accusing me, Your Majesty! 26:8 Why do you people think it is unbelievable that God raises the dead?
26:9 Of course, I myself was convinced that it was necessary to do many things hostile to the name of Jesus the Nazarene. 26:10 And that is what I did in Jerusalem: Not only did I lock up many of the saints in prisons by the authority I received from the chief priests, but I also cast my vote against them when they were sentenced to death. 26:11 I punished them often in all the synagogues and tried to force them to blaspheme. Because I was so furiously enraged at them, I went to persecute them even in foreign cities.
26:12 “While doing this very thing, as I was going to Damascus with authority and complete power from the chief priests, 26:13 about noon along the road, Your Majesty, I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining everywhere around me and those traveling with me.
26:14 When we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? You are hurting yourself by kicking against the goads.’
26:15 So I said, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And the Lord replied, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. 26:16 But get up and stand on your feet, for I have appeared to you for this reason, to designate you in advance as a servant and witness to the things you have seen and to the things in which I will appear to you. 26:17 I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles, to whom I am sending you 26:18 to open their eyes so that they turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a share among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’
26:19 “Therefore, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, 26:20 but I declared to those in Damascus first, and then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds consistent with repentance.
26:21 For this reason the Jews seized me in the temple courts and were trying to kill me.
26:22 I have experienced help from God to this day, and so I stand testifying to both small and great, saying nothing except what the prophets and Moses said was going to happen: 26:23 that the Christ was to suffer and be the first to rise from the dead, to proclaim light both to our people and to the Gentiles.”
26:24 As Paul was saying these things in his defense, Festus exclaimed loudly, “You have lost your mind, Paul! Your great learning is driving you insane!” 26:25 But Paul replied, “I have not lost my mind, most excellent Festus, but am speaking true and rational words. 26:26 For the king knows about these things, and I am speaking freely to him, because I cannot believe that any of these things has escaped his notice, for this was not done in a corner.
26:27 Do you believe the prophets, King Agrippa? I know that you believe.” 26:28 Agrippa said to Paul, “In such a short time are you persuading me to become a Christian?”
26:29 Paul replied, “I pray to God that whether in a short or a long time not only you but also all those who are listening to me today could become such as I am, except for these chains.”
26:30 So the king got up, and with him the governor and Bernice and those sitting with them, 26:31 and as they were leaving they said to one another, “This man is not doing anything deserving death or imprisonment.” 26:32 Agrippa said to Festus, “This man could have been released if he had not appealed to Caesar.”
Lord, You consistently prophesied of the coming of Jesus and the purpose of His ministry, and when You confronted Paul with that truth he immediately surrendered his legalism to Your grace. Paul risked his life to tell Your story. May I be bold in sharing You as well.
Paul offered his defense, noting that King Agrippa knew the culture and traditions of the Jews well. Paul began with his reputation as a “pharisee of pharisees. He then notes that all Jews look forward to “hope” based on the “promise” of God to send a redeemer.
He reviewed his experience with Jesus on the road to Damascus and the commission he was given by Jesus to preach both to Jews and to Gentiles.
Paul noted that he preached Christ as the fulfillment of the redeemer that Jews longed for and that he was being persecuted for that.
Festus exclaimed to Paul that he must have lost his mind, that his “great learning” has made him mad, but Paul replied that all was “true and rational”.
Paul then appealed to King Agrippa, affirming the awareness and knowledge of the King of both the prophets and the life of Christ, to which Agrippa protested that Paul was trying to convert him. Paul declared that such was his desire for all present.
Agrippa and Bernice and Festus departed, remarking that Paul could have been set free had he not appealed to Caesar.
If Paul had not had a teachable spirit when confronted by Jesus he would have been as useless as the other religious leaders.
Isn’t it amazing how simple was Paul's message? God promised a redeemer and He fulfilled His promise. The next step is up to us; accept or reject His terms for redemption.
It is very import that as many as possible have a true understanding of Biblical Christianity so that Christ is not misrepresented by cults and careless philosophers.
When have you observed someone of great learning exhibit the maturity to remain teachable — even in those things for which he was recognized as exceptionally-knowledgeable?
Ask the Holy Spirit for an opportunity to clarify Biblical truth for someone who is confused or misled, or encourage family or friends to join me in a new Bible study.
Today I will rehearse my explanation of the story of Christ with a fellow believer and share feedback as to how well it matches the powerfully-simple telling of the Apostle Paul.
Paul and Company Sail for Rome
27:1 When it was decided we would sail to Italy, they handed over Paul and some other prisoners to a centurion of the Augustan Cohort named Julius. 27:2 We went on board a ship from Adramyttium that was about to sail to various ports along the coast of the province of Asia and put out to sea, accompanied by Aristarchus, a Macedonian from Thessalonica. 27:3 The next day we put in at Sidon, and Julius, treating Paul kindly, allowed him to go to his friends so they could provide him with what he needed. 27:4 From there we put out to sea and sailed under the lee of Cyprus because the winds were against us. 27:5 After we had sailed across the open sea off Cilicia and Pamphylia, we put in at Myra in Lycia. 27:6 There the centurion found a ship from Alexandria sailing for Italy, and he put us aboard it. 27:7 We sailed slowly for many days and arrived with difficulty off Cnidus. Because the wind prevented us from going any farther, we sailed under the lee of Crete off Salmone. 27:8 With difficulty we sailed along the coast of Crete and came to a place called Fair Havens that was near the town of Lasea.
Caught in a Violent Storm
27:9 Since considerable time had passed and the voyage was now dangerous because the fast was already over, Paul advised them, 27:10 “Men, I can see the voyage is going to end in disaster and great loss not only of the cargo and the ship, but also of our lives.” 27:11 But the centurion was more convinced by the captain and the ship’s owner than by what Paul said. 27:12 Because the harbor was not suitable to spend the winter in, the majority decided to put out to sea from there. They hoped that somehow they could reach Phoenix, a harbor of Crete facing southwest and northwest, and spend the winter there. 27:13 When a gentle south wind sprang up, they thought they could carry out their purpose, so they weighed anchor and sailed close along the coast of Crete. 27:14 Not long after this, a hurricane-force wind called the northeaster blew down from the island. 27:15 When the ship was caught in it and could not head into the wind, we gave way to it and were driven along. 27:16 As we ran under the lee of a small island called Cauda, we were able with difficulty to get the ship’s boat under control. 27:17 After the crew had hoisted it aboard, they used supports to undergird the ship. Fearing they would run aground on the Syrtis, they lowered the sea anchor, thus letting themselves be driven along. 27:18 The next day, because we were violently battered by the storm, they began throwing the cargo overboard, 27:19 and on the third day they threw the ship’s gear overboard with their own hands. 27:20 When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days and a violent storm continued to batter us, we finally abandoned all hope of being saved.
27:21 Since many of them had no desire to eat, Paul stood up among them and said, “Men, you should have listened to me and not put out to sea from Crete, thus avoiding this damage and loss. 27:22 And now I advise you to keep up your courage, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only the ship will be lost. 27:23 For last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve came to me 27:24 and said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul! You must stand before Caesar, and God has graciously granted you the safety of all who are sailing with you.’ 27:25 Therefore keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will be just as I have been told. 27:26 But we must run aground on some island.”
Lord, You blessed Paul's fellow travelers as a testimony to the truth of Paul's report about You. May I be faithful enough that You will choose to bless others in some small way through me.
Paul was transferred to a prison ship bound for Italy. After slow travel due to difficulties with the wind, and several planned stops -including one where the Centurion allowed Paul’s friends to meet his needs - they sailed on.
Paul warned them that due to the winter season they faced shipwreck but they continued on.
They found themselves in a violent storm and after struggling for many days gave up hope of survival. Paul reminded them that he had warned them, then he shared that an angel of God had promised him than none of them would be lost but the ship and cargo would.
As they were about to be shipwrecked Paul calls to them to eat for strength.
The Lord God protected Paul from murder, provided many ministry opportunities, told him he'd preach in Rome, and now protected him and his companions from harm on the way to Rome.
Isn’t it amazing how the Lord God either calms or manages storms as His great purposes require?
When all others have given up hope God assured Paul then Paul in turn assured them.
When have you observed a man of God being ignored, only to be the one people turn to when all else fails and they need a wise leader?
Ask the Holy Spirit to show me someone, or a group, that is sailing into an avoidable storm due to arrogance and/or ignorance.
Today I will pray for protection, for ministry opportunities, and to be used by God to bring eternal hope into the lives of the hopeless.
27:27 When the fourteenth night had come, while we were being driven across the Adriatic Sea, about midnight the sailors suspected they were approaching some land. 27:28 They took soundings and found the water was twenty fathoms deep; when they had sailed a little farther they took soundings again and found it was fifteen fathoms deep. 27:29 Because they were afraid that we would run aground on the rocky coast, they threw out four anchors from the stern and wished for day to appear.
27:30 Then when the sailors tried to escape from the ship and were lowering the ship’s boat into the sea, pretending that they were going to put out anchors from the bow, 27:31 Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, “Unless these men stay with the ship, you cannot be saved.” 27:32 Then the soldiers cut the ropes of the ship’s boat and let it drift away.
27:33 As day was about to dawn, Paul urged them all to take some food, saying, “Today is the fourteenth day you have been in suspense and have gone without food; you have eaten nothing. 27:34 Therefore I urge you to take some food, for this is important for your survival. For not one of you will lose a hair from his head.”
27:35 After he said this, Paul took bread and gave thanks to God in front of them all, broke it, and began to eat. 27:36 So all of them were encouraged and took food themselves. 27:37 (We were in all two hundred seventy-six persons on the ship.) 27:38 When they had eaten enough to be satisfied, they lightened the ship by throwing the wheat into the sea.
Paul is Shipwrecked
27:39 When day came, they did not recognize the land, but they noticed a bay with a beach, where they decided to run the ship aground if they could. 27:40 So they slipped the anchors and left them in the sea, at the same time loosening the linkage that bound the steering oars together. Then they hoisted the foresail to the wind and steered toward the beach. 27:41 But they encountered a patch of crosscurrents and ran the ship aground; the bow stuck fast and could not be moved, but the stern was being broken up by the force of the waves. 27:42 Now the soldiers’ plan was to kill the prisoners so that none of them would escape by swimming away. 27:43 But the centurion, wanting to save Paul’s life, prevented them from carrying out their plan. He ordered those who could swim to jump overboard first and get to land, 27:44 and the rest were to follow, some on planks and some on pieces of the ship. And in this way all were brought safely to land.
Paul on Malta
28:1 After we had safely reached shore, we learned that the island was called Malta. 28:2 The local inhabitants showed us extraordinary kindness, for they built a fire and welcomed us all because it had started to rain and was cold.
28:3 When Paul had gathered a bundle of brushwood and was putting it on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat and fastened itself on his hand.
28:4 When the local people saw the creature hanging from Paul’s hand, they said to one another, “No doubt this man is a murderer! Although he has escaped from the sea, Justice herself has not allowed him to live!”
28:5 However, Paul shook the creature off into the fire and suffered no harm. 28:6 But they were expecting that he was going to swell up or suddenly drop dead. So after they had waited a long time and had seen nothing unusual happen to him, they changed their minds and said he was a god.
28:7 Now in the region around that place were fields belonging to the chief official of the island, named Publius, who welcomed us and entertained us hospitably as guests for three days. 28:8 The father of Publius lay sick in bed, suffering from fever and dysentery. Paul went in to see him and after praying, placed his hands on him and healed him.
28:9 After this had happened, many of the people on the island who were sick also came and were healed.
28:10 They also bestowed many honors, and when we were preparing to sail, they gave us all the supplies we needed.
Lord, the enemy attacked Paul via a snake (You said that a serpent would attack the Savior, and a serpent was the form the deceiver took when leading Adam & Eve astray) but the superstitious people of Malta thought it was a judgment of his sin. You turned the enemy's attack upon Paul to good. When I am attacked because of my faithfulness to You, may I trust that You will use your overcoming of the attack as a testimony of His presence and power in you.
Paul warned the captain that everyone had to remain on the ship or none would be saved, and so the sailors who had schemed to sneak away in a small boat were stopped.
Paul encouraged them all to eat as it had been a long time in-crisis then gave thanks to God, broke-bread, and ate before them - they ate as well then discarded the rest of the wheat to lighten the ship. They grounded the ship in shallow water because the storm still threatened. They were successful and, as Paul had prophesied, all were safe.
The shipwrecked crew, including Paul, discovered that they had landed on the Island of Malta. The citizens there were friendly.
Paul was bitten by a viper and suddenly their superstition labeled him a murderer - but when he was not harmed they imagined him a god.
The Holy Spirit used Paul as His vessel of healing for the father of the chief official of the Island as well as many others. [Note: The text does not record Paul as having the opportunity to preach Christ, though he undoubtedly shared Christ with everyone he met, nor does it record any who accepted Christ at the time. It could be that the Holy Spirit used Paul to plant seeds for a future harvest there.]
Because of Paul's faithfulness to Christ the people were blessed by the Lord God and they sent he and his fellow travelers away with many gifts and supplies.
Paul, despite being a prisoner, became a major leader on the ship and on the island.
Isn’t it interesting that Paul was faithful as a vessel of God in healing and sharing on Malta despite the persistent confused-thinking of the people? Might one conclude that the Lord God discerned that they had teachable spirits and the Holy Spirit had prepared them to listen?
Does this seem to be yet another case where pagans attempted to impose their views upon God's work, first the superstition that one bitten by a viper must be an unpunished murderer (interestingly that was true about Paul), and then that he must be a "god" since the viper had no effect on him?
When have you observed a person in ministry first resisted then received?
Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you any place where any pagan value system may affect you.
Today I will ask a fellow believer to pray in agreement with me to discern any place in my life where a pagan value system has gained foothold unnoticed and the strength and wisdom to excise it.
Paul Finally Reaches Rome
28:11 After three months we put out to sea in an Alexandrian ship that had wintered at the island and had the “Heavenly Twins” as its figurehead. 28:12 We put in at Syracuse and stayed there three days.
28:13 From there we cast off and arrived at Rhegium, and after one day a south wind sprang up and on the second day we came to Puteoli. 28:14 There we found some brothers and were invited to stay with them seven days. And in this way we came to Rome.
28:15 The brothers from there, when they heard about us, came as far as the Forum of Appius and Three Taverns to meet us. When he saw them, Paul thanked God and took courage.
28:16 When we entered Rome, Paul was allowed to live by himself, with the soldier who was guarding him.
Paul Addresses the Jewish Community in Rome
28:17 After three days Paul called the local Jewish leaders together. When they had assembled, he said to them, “Brothers, although I had done nothing against our people or the customs of our ancestors, from Jerusalem I was handed over as a prisoner to the Romans. 28:18 When they had heard my case, they wanted to release me, because there was no basis for a death sentence against me.
28:19 But when the Jews objected, I was forced to appeal to Caesar — not that I had some charge to bring against my own people. 28:20 So for this reason I have asked to see you and speak with you, for I am bound with this chain because of the hope of Israel.”
28:21 They replied, “We have received no letters from Judea about you, nor have any of the brothers come from there and reported or said anything bad about you. 28:22 But we would like to hear from you what you think, for regarding this sect we know that people everywhere speak against it.”
28:23 They set a day to meet with him, and they came to him where he was staying in even greater numbers. From morning until evening he explained things to them, testifying about the kingdom of God and trying to convince them about Jesus from both the law of Moses and the prophets.
28:24 Some were convinced by what he said, but others refused to believe. 28:25 So they began to leave, unable to agree among themselves, after Paul made one last statement: “The Holy Spirit spoke rightly to your ancestors through the prophet Isaiah 28:26 when he said,
‘Go to this people and say,“You will keep on hearing, but will never understand,and you will keep on looking, but will never perceive.
28:27 For the heart of this people has become dull,and their ears are hard of hearing, and they have closed their eyes, so that they would not see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them.”’
28:28 “Therefore be advised that this salvation from God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will listen!”
28:30 Paul lived there two whole years in his own rented quarters and welcomed all who came to him, 28:31 proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with complete boldness and without restriction.
Lord, You enabled Paul to survive murderous plots in order that he might be Your instrument to preach Christ in Rome. He did so and some received Your truth while others rejected it. May I be faithful, no matter the resistance, and know that I am in partnership with Your Holy Spirit and that the harvest is Yours.
After many months of travel Paul reached Rome, met some brothers-in-Christ, and was allowed to reside outside of prison with his guard.
Paul addressed the Jewish leaders in Rome, explaining the false charges in Caesarea and Jerusalem and his need to appeal to Caesar to avoid their efforts to murder him. The locals replied that they had received no letters or visitors carrying any charges against Paul. They did note that there was a general negativity against Christianity and wanted to hear about it first-hand from Paul.
Paul preached Christ to the religious leaders and their followers, some believed but many refused, at which time Paul declared that he would also share Christ with the Gentiles because they were more likely to listen.
Paul preached and taught anyone who would listen, Jew or Gentile in Rome, for two years.
According to the NET Translator’s Notes verse 28:29 is omitted in many modern translations as better scholarship has determined that it has a high probability of being a scribal addition rather than of the earliest antique sources.
No matter how he tried the enemy could not keep Paul from preaching in Rome.
Why were the Gentiles more receptive than the Jews?
Paul always started with the Jews by declaring his history of felicity to Jewish law and his service as a zealous religious leader, then he reminded them of the prophesies, and finally he showed them how it all led to Christ.
When have you been surprised at the unexpected receptivity of a person or group instead of those whom you expected to be receptive to Biblical truth?
Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you a person of group you have ignored but who are ready to hear.
Today I will reach out to that person or group whom the Holy Spirit has revealed and I will share with them the message of Christ.
All Bible text is from the NET unless otherwise indicated - http://bible.org
Note 1: These Studies often rely upon the guidance of the NET Translators from their associated notes. Careful attention has been given to cite that source where it has been quoted directly or closely paraphrased. Feedback is encouraged where credit has not been sufficiently assigned.
Note 2: When NET text is quoted in commentary and discussion all pronouns referring to God are capitalized, though they are lower-case in the original NET text.
Commentary text is from David M. Colburn, D.Min. unless otherwise noted.
Copyright © 2011 by David M. Colburn. This is a BibleSeven Study— “Acts” — prepared by David M. Colburn and edited for bible.org in December of 2011. This text may be used for non-profit educational purposes only, with credit; all other usage requires prior written consent of the author.