Act 28: "So concludes the wonderful and exciting record of the
work of the apostles, in fulfilling the prayer of the Lord Jesus from the cross:
'Forgive them, for they know not what they do.' The preaching of the gospel
brought their responsibility clearly before the people. Thus the prayer was
answered by the provision of such chosen vessels as Peter and Paul -- and
through their works, both Jews and Gentiles were brought to learn of the divine
purpose in Christ. They now 'knew what they should do.' So in the concluding
words of Luke, Paul cited from the prophecy of Isa 6:9-10 (Act 28:26,27), and
declared that the means of salvation would be taken to all mankind (v 28). The
chapter also records the emotions of the apostle as he had at last reached the
apex of his appointments: to witness before kings. Notice the personal
encouragement in v 15, that the meeting with the brethren was seen by the
apostle as a gift from God, through which he would take courage for the final
work. So the victory of faith and understanding concludes the record. The
chapter reveals: (1) Miracles at Malta: vv 1-10; (2) Journey to Rome: vv 11-16;
(3) With the Jews in Rome: vv 17-20; (4) Paul's ministry in Rome: vv 30,31"
MALTA: This tiny island (95 square miles) about 60
miles south of Sicily, was the site of Paul's shipwreck. During his three
months' stay he healed sick people, was considered a god, and won a number of
converts (Acts 28:1-10). Today many churches there honor Paul.
Occupied by Phoenicians as early as the 10th century BC, the
island later became a Roman province. The inhabitants apparently did not speak
ISLANDERS: "Barbarians" (KJV): lit, foreigners, and
specifically those who did not speak Greek or Latin. (They were prob Phoenician,
with a language -- Punic -- closely related to Hebrew.)
VIPER: Poisonous: Job 20:16; Isa 59:5.
JUSTICE HAS NOT ALLOWED HIM TO LIVE: The natives
interpreted this event in terms of their own superstition. They concluded that
Paul actually was a murderer; and although he had escaped death in the sea, the
goddess of justice, Dike, had now brought a proper fate upon him.
Paul survives a deadly serpent bite: Mar 16:18; Luk 10:19; cp
This is now considered a miracle; no man can escape the bite
of the serpent -- without Christ!
Lystra in reverse: Acts 14:11,19!
HONORED: By gifts of money, clothing -- prob shared by
Paul with his companions.
CASTOR AND POLLUX: The twin sons of Jupiter, and the
patron "gods" of sailors.
SYRACUSE: A Corinthian colony founded in the 8th
century BC, Syracuse became one of the most magnificent Greek states. It
successfully fought off the Athenian expedition of 415-13 but fell to Rome in
241 BC. at the end of the First Punic War. The city suffered terribly during the
Roman civil wars of the 1st century BC, but Augustus made efforts to restore
RHEGIUM: A city on the "toe" of the "boot" of Italy. It
lies opposite Messina in Sicily. Here Paul's ship stopped on his way to Rome
(Acts 28:13). The name means "breach," which is a reference to the ancient
belief that Sicily was rent from the continent by an earthquake. Other early
writers believed the name was derived from 'regium', the Latin word for "royal."
Because of its strategic location, Rhegium has played a prominent role in
history. It is now called Reggio, and is the capital of Calabria.
PUTEOLI: The harbor on the Bay of Naples where Paul
landed after the long, almost disastrous journey from Palestine. The city was on
one of the best harbors on the Italian coast and had been established centuries
earlier by the Greeks. Because it was a great trading center, many Jews lived
there; and a Christian church was already established when Paul arrived (Acts
28:13,14). A part of the pier where Paul may have landed is still to be seen in
the modern Pozzuoli. After seven days, Paul and the others set out to walk to
TO SPEND A WEEK WITH THEM: A favor which Julius prob
AND SO WE CAME TO ROME: Note Luke's almost palpable
excitement, at the prospect of seeing Rome!
FORUM OF APPIUS AND THE THREE TAVERNS: 33 and 43 miles,
respectively, from Rome.
AND WAS ENCOURAGED: Cp Pro 27:17.
Just because Paul preached to the Gentiles did not mean he had
abandoned his Jewishness.
THE HOPE OF ISRAEL: "The restoration of Israel is
today, and has been down through the ages, the Hope of Israel. Paul, in Acts
28:20 said, 'Because that for the hope of Israel, I am bound with this chain.'
Two men, shortly after the crucifixion of Christ, walked to Emmaus. They were
sad. Why? 'We trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed ISRAEL'
(Luke 24:21). These sad men were talking to the risen Christ, the one who is to
redeem Israel. Just before Christ's ascension, the disciples, their hopes
revived on learning that he had been raised from the dead, asked him saying,
'Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom of ISRAEL?' (Acts 1:6)"
Paul forcefully set forth the gospel of the Kingdom in his
letters: ie Col 1:13; 4:11; Heb 12:28; 1Co 4:20; 6:9; 2Th 1:5; 2Ti
The Book of Acts ends with Paul preaching in Rome, in
fulfillment of Christ's promise in Acts 1:8.
Paul was the one "sent" with a message to the nation (Isa
6:8). The outcome: desolation and captivity (Isa 6:11,12).
GOD'S SALVATION HAS BEEN SENT TO THE GENTILES: Now that
the gospel has been preached across the empire, and as far as Rome, the
principle of "to the Jew first, and then to the Gentile" may now be set
FOR TWO WHOLE YEARS PAUL STAYED THERE IN HIS OWN RENTED
HOUSE: Or "at his own expense" (RSV) welcoming all visitors, to whom he
spoke of the Kingdom of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ "quite openly and
unhindered" (RSV). Here (vv 30,31) is a clear testimony to the legality of
Christianity: Paul, even while a prisoner, is allowed to preach it even in Rome!
"During this period he also wrote to the believers at Ephesus,
Philippi and Colosse, and sent the letter to Philemon. Luke thus establishes
that Paul bore witness in Rome to the resurrected Christ as the Lord had
foretold, but there is no reference in Acts to Paul appearing before Caesar as
the angel had foretold (Act 27:23,24); an event which Luke would surely have
recorded if it had taken place when he wrote. It can be assumed then that Paul
remained a prisoner chained to a Roman guard during the two years" (Tes
During these two years, Paul was constantly under Roman guard
(Eph 1:20; Phi 1:7), enduring much privation and suffering (Col 1:24; Eph 3:13)
-- being prematurely aged by extreme persecutions (Phm 1:8,9).
Apparently, some of the Praetorian Guard, assigned to guard
Paul, were converted by his preaching (Phi 1:13).
THE KINGDOM OF GOD: What the apostles had believed and
preached at the beginning of Acts -- the restoration of the kingdom to Israel
(Act 1:8) -- is the subject of Paul's preaching at the end of Acts: "the kingdom
of God". We need not embellish the message; it strength is its simplicity.