Acts 28

Wherever in the providence of God the Christian is put, he is placed there to do a work for God and to represent Jesus Christ. Blessing may come to thousands out of seeming calamity that befalls God’s true servants. God’s ways are past finding out, but let His servant be confident always in His promises and ready to do every good work wherever the waves of events may land him.

1 And when they were escaped, then they knew that the island was called Melita.

2 And the barbarous people shewed us no little kindness: for they kindled a fire, and received us every one, because of the present rain, and because of the cold.

3 And when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks, and laid them on the fire, there came a viper out of the heat, and fastened on his hand.

4 And when the barbarians saw the venomous beast hang on his hand, they said among themselves, No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he hath escaped the sea, yet vengeance suffereth not to live.

5 And he shook off the beast into the fire, and felt no harm.

6 Howbeit they looked when he should have swollen, or fallen down dead suddenly: but after they had looked a great while, and saw no harm come to him, they changed their minds, and said that he was a god.

7 In the same quarters were possessions of the chief man of the island, whose name was Publius; who received us, and lodged us three days courteously.

8 And it came to pass, that the father of Publius lay sick of a fever and of a bloody flux: to whom Paul entered in, and prayed, and laid his hands on him, and healed him.

9 So when this was done, others also, which had diseases in the island, came, and were healed:

10 Who also honoured us with many honours; and when we departed, they laded us with such things as were necessary.

11 And after three months we departed in a ship of Alexandria, which had wintered in the isle, whose sign was Castor and Pollux.

12 And landing at Syracuse, we tarried there three days.

13 And from thence we fetched a compass, and came to Rhegium: and after one day the south wind blew, and we came the next day to Puteoli:

14 Where we found brethren, and were desired to tarry with them seven days: and so we went toward Rome.

15 And from thence, when the brethren heard of us, they came to meet us as far as Appii forum, and The three taverns: whom when Paul saw, he thanked God, and took courage.

16 And when we came to Rome, the centurion delivered the prisoners to the captain of the guard: but Paul was suffered to dwell by himself with a soldier that kept him.

17 And it came to pass, that after three days Paul called the chief of the Jews together: and when they were come together, he said unto them, Men and brethren, though I have committed nothing against the people, or customs of our fathers, yet was I delivered prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans.

18 Who, when they had examined me, would have let me go, because there was no cause of death in me.

19 But when the Jews spake against it, I was constrained to appeal unto Caesar; not that I had ought to accuse my nation of.

20 For this cause therefore have I called for you, to see you, and to speak with you: because that for the hope of Israel I am bound with this chain.

21 And they said unto him, We neither received letters out of Judaea concerning thee, neither any of the brethren that came shewed or spake any harm of thee.

22 But we desire to hear of thee what thou thinkest: for as concerning this sect, we know that every where it is spoken against.

23 And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into his lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening.

24 And some believed the things which were spoken, and some believed not.

25 And when they agreed not among themselves, they departed, after that Paul had spoken one word, Well spake the Holy Ghost by Esaias the prophet unto our fathers,

26 Saying, Go unto this people, and say, Hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive:

27 For the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

28 Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it.

29 And when he had said these words, the Jews departed, and had great reasoning among themselves.

30 And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him,

31 Preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man forbidding him.

Acts 28:1-10 – ​Kindness Richly Repaid

   It is pleasant to read of the kindness of these Maltese. In humanity everywhere there are kindly traits, and often there will be ready help for the really destitute.
   Accidents are not punishments. The clinging of the viper to Paul’s hand was not an evidence of the anger of God, but was permitted in order to give these simple-hearted people an evidence which they would appreciate of God’s care for His own.
   How changeable is human opinion, shifting in a moment from the highest to the lowest estimate of our fellows, and basing that estimate solely on the favorable or unfavorable aspect of outward circumstances! Let us not judge by appearance, but righteously. Because Paul cast off the viper, they accounted him divine; if he had died, they would have thought him a felon. Let us also shake off temptation. We cannot prevent its attacking us, but we need not take the viper into our heart.
   Paul’s unfailing influence for good shows what a blessing even one Christian man can be wherever he goes, if he lives in the power of God. —Through the Bible Day by Day

Acts 28:11-20 – ​Still Seeking His Own Kinsmen

   Paul went toward Rome, as we have seen, under very different circumstances from those that he originally anticipated; but, after all, they gave him the greatest opportunity of his life. The things that befell him were for the furtherance of the gospel. In no other way could he have approached or touched such men as the centurion, or the members of Caesar’s household, or Publius, or Nero himself.
   It was very good of Julius to give Paul seven days’ rest in the lovely bay of Puteoli, at the foot of Vesuvius. The little towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum were not yet overwhelmed. What teaching and what happy fellowship the little church now enjoyed! Forty-three miles from Rome, at Appii Forum, a body of Christians awaited the Apostle with greetings, and ten miles farther on, at the Three Taverns, was another group. If Paul had entertained fears about his reception, they were immediately dispelled. The Apostle thanked God and took courage.
   How he had longed to see mighty Rome! He was now allowed to live in his own house, chained to a soldier. In these circumstances he was secure from the hatred and plottings of the Jews, who in every city had endangered his life and impeded his labors. —Through the Bible Day by Day

Acts 28:20-31—And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house…

​   Thus, abruptly, does this fifth Gospel close. It has been well said that a close so abrupt suggests a continuance and a sequel. The curtain of silence falls when Paul’s life is not brought to a close, and his work at Rome is still in process; and does not this indicate the design of the Holy Spirit that we should believe that the book of the Acts of the Apostles is never complete, but is really conterminous with the present age? Thus, every generation of every life adds its own gold link to the chain, which reaches from the upper chamber in the earthly Jerusalem to the bridal chamber of the New Jerusalem, uniting in one glorious succession all in whom Jesus continues by the Spirit to speak and work.
   When the late Bishop of Ripon read of the labors and sufferings of John Williams in the South Seas, he laid down the narrative, exclaiming, “This is the twenty-ninth chapter of the Acts of the Apostles.” May we not rather say the five hundredth or five thousandth? Between the stories of Paul and of John Williams, you must insert thousands which have been recorded of God’s remembrancing angels alone, as well as those which are filling our shelves with missionary romance and biography, more interesting than novels, more wonderful than dreams.
   “The book is left incomplete, as it always will be while one believer is left to teach and preach those things concerning the Lord Jesus Christ, and to fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in his own flesh for his body’s sake, which is the Church.” And the question arises, Have you wrought or suffered for Jesus in such wise as to add some verses to those chapters, which are now being written by angel scribes? —Our Daily Homily

Acts 28:21-31 – ​Preaching in the World’s Capital

   It was one of the earliest cares of Paul to summon the leading members of the Jewish community, that he might explain to them his position. He made clear that he had not opposed or injured his own people, and that he was suffering because of his devotion to the “Hope of Israel,” by which he obviously referred to Christ. The Jews replied cautiously, declaring that they had not as yet received the formal charge against him. But as they professed a wish for further information, he begged them to fix their own day and come. This they did in considerable numbers. All day long he set before them arguments from Scripture and the story of his own experience. A few were convinced; the rest disagreed. Probably the debate toward its close became somewhat stormy, and the Apostle felt at liberty to quote Isaiah 6:9-10.
   He, thereafter, turned to the Roman Christians, who had already been addressed in his memorable Epistle, in the last chapter of which is a list of names of those whom he loved in Christ. They were constantly coming in to cheer his loneliness and to hear his words, while Tychicus, Epaphras, Epaphroditus, and others brought news, greetings, and gifts from the churches he had founded. —Through the Bible Day by Day