23. Acts 28
The Never Ending Story
Congratulations!!! Paul has persevered to the end of his travels in Acts and so have you! It is the finishers that overcome obstacles and make a difference for Christ. Praise God because He has brought you to the conclusion of the book and ask Him to clearly show you any additional lessons from the last chapter of Acts. Lesson 24 is a review lesson.
En route to Rome by ship, Paul and his companions (including Luke) rode the roller coaster of a vicious, raging storm. As Paul had promised, no one drowned, but their ship broke apart on the shore of an island 60 miles south of Sicily. In two weeks the storm had carried them 600 miles.
Read Acts 28:1-10
1. A. Name and locate the island where they were shipwrecked. How did the natives treat these exhausted travelers? (28:1, 2)
B. How did Paul show that he was not a "prima donna"? (28:3a)
C. Are any tasks below you? Are you willing to help out no matter how menial the work?
2. A. What happened to Paul as he placed the wood on the fire? (28:3)
B. As a result, what did the natives immediately assume about Paul? (28:4) What can we learn about their understanding of the way the world works from their assumption?
C. Do you tend to believe that difficult circumstances are God's judgment on you for sin? If so, why?
D. (Summit) What are some reasons that God allows "bad things to happen to good people"?
E. How was Paul affected by the viper's bite? What did the natives assume now? (28:6)
F. (Digging Deeper) How do you think Paul reacted to their deification? Compare to Acts 14:8-17.
3. A. Who extended hospitality to Paul and his weary friends? (28:7)
B. What was Paul's hospitality gift to him? (28:8)
C. What effect did Paul's presence have on the whole community? (28:9) What effect does the presence of Christians have on your community? What would life be like if they were all suddenly removed?
D. How did the people of Malta express their gratitude? (28: 10)
Read Acts 28:11-31
After three months of "R & R" they sailed again for Rome, disembarking the ship at Puteoli (today Pozzuoli) at the Bay of Naples. From there they set out for Rome on foot. (28:11-14)
4. A. What kind of welcome did they receive? (28:14)(Note: The Forum of Appius was 43 miles away; the Three Taverns was 33 miles away.)
B. What did this welcome mean to Paul? What did he do? (28:15)
C. Paul had long had it in his heart to go to Rome. (Acts 19:21, 23: 11; Romans 1: 11- 13) Finally, his dream was a reality! Can you remember a time when a dream came true? If so, when? Describe your feelings. Did you thank God?
D. (Digging Deeper) In light of the fact that God wanted Paul to reach Rome, why do you think he allowed so many calamities along the way? What stories would the centurion tell his fellow soldiers once they arrived?
5. A. What were Paul's living conditions in Rome? (28:16) What freedoms did he no longer enjoy? What adjustments in ministry strategy was he forced to make?
B. When limitations are placed upon you by circumstances beyond your control, how do you react? How can you serve the Lord within these limits?
C. (Summit) Paul is believed to have penned Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and Philemon from his apartment in Rome. Read these letters remembering Paul's circumstances. What can you learn.
6. A. How soon did Paul summon the Jewish leaders in Rome? (28:17) Why? (Romans 1: 16, 9:1-5)
B. What did he tell them first? (28:17-20)
C. What did the Jews know about Paul and Christianity? (28:21, 22)
D. (Digging Deeper) Why do you think the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem failed to pursue their case against Paul before Caesar in Rome?
7. A. After the Jews agreed to hear him out, what was the heart of Paul's message? How long did he reason and persuade? (28:23)
B. Describe the two reactions to Paul's message? (28:24)
C. (Summit) Explain the meaning of Paul's parting words to the Jews: Isaiah 6:9 and 10 found in verses 26 and 27. How does a calloused heart effect belief? Does God harden hearts or do people harden their own hearts?
8. A. How did the response of the Jews in Rome typify Jewish response throughout Paul's ministry?
B. As a result of Jewish rejection, who would benefit? (28:28) How had Gentiles generally responded to Paul's message throughout his ministry?
C. (Summit) How did Paul hope Gentile inclusion would ultimately affect the Jews? (Romans 11: 11- 13) Has this happened yet? Will it ever happen? How is Paul's treatment of Jews relevant to us today?
9. A. From Acts 28:30 and 3 1, what do you learn about Paul's ministry in Rome?
B. In what sense is Chapter 28 a fitting end for the book? (Acts 1:8) In what sense does it feel incomplete? What part could you play in completing the book?
Genius, that power which dazzles mortal eyes, is oft but perseverance in disguise.
Henry Willard Austin