After escaping the shipwreck (27:44) off the coast of the island of Malta, Paul and all the ship’s passengers made their way to shore. Paul’s seemingly miraculous escape from death by snakebite (28:4–6) may be a fulfillment of Jesus’ promise in Mark 16:18, but it is a fulfillment of Jesus’ promise that Paul would testify in Rome (Acts 23:11). Paul used the opportunity while at Malta to preach the gospel, and the Lord greatly worked (vv. 7–10).
Upon arriving in Italy, they arrived in Puteoli and stayed with Christians there (vv. 11-14). Roman Christians heard of Paul’s arrival and went to meet him in Appii Forum (43 miles from Rome) and Three Inns (30 miles from Rome), which encouraged Paul after his long voyage (v. 15).
In Rome Paul was allowed to stay in his own dwelling, always guarded by Roman soldiers (v. 16). Paul had an initial meeting with Rome’s Jewish leaders, introduced himself to them, relayed his circumstances, and gave the gospel (vv. 17-20). The Jews testified of their limited knowledge and opinion of Christianity and so set a date to meet with Paul more formally (vv. 21-22).
When the date arrived, Paul demonstrated from the OT that Jesus was Israel’s promised Christ and King (“kingdom of God,” v. 23). Some Jews were persuaded and believed, some did not (v. 24). Paul warned the unbelieving Jews that if they acted like past unbelieving Jews the Lord would judge their stubborn unbelief with spiritual blindness and the gospel would continue to spread to the Gentiles (vv. 25-29). For the next two years Paul would continue ministering in Rome (vv. 30-31).
Truths to Nail Down and Meditate On
- It is always time to preach the gospel, “in season and out of season” (2 Tim 4:2). Our outward circumstances may be unpleasant, but the Lord providentially orders events for his purposes. In both pleasant and difficult circumstances there will be souls without Christ who must hear the gospel to be saved. “Be ready!”
- “Redeem the time, for the days are evil” (Eph 5:16). During Paul’s two-year Roman imprisonment Paul continued to preach the gospel to all who came to him, as well as the ever-present Roman soldiers. As a result, the gospel spread throughout the palace guard! (Phil 1:13) Paul also wrote letters that are now part of the NT: Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon. During “down times” of life, don’t sulk and pity yourself, be faithful!
- The Lord saves everyone who believes and judges every unbeliever. Christian, your role is to faithfully give the gospel and live a Christ-like life.
- Jesus always fulfills his promises! Trust him and obey him!