After three months we set sail in a ship that had wintered in the island, a ship of Alexandria, with the twin gods as a figurehead. Putting in at Syracuse, we stayed there for three days. And from there we made a circuit and arrived at Rhegium. And after one day a south wind sprang up, and on the second day we came to Puteoli. There we found brothers and were invited to stay with them for seven days. And so we came to Rome. And the brothers there, when they heard about us, came as far as the Forum of Appius and Three Taverns to meet us. On seeing them, Paul thanked God and took courage. And when we came into Rome, Paul was allowed to stay by himself, with the soldier who guarded him. (Acts 28:11-16)
Final Stages of the Journey to Rome
There had been believers at Rome for some years, and Paul had written a long letter to them to teach and encourage them in their faith. When they heard of his arrival in Italy, two parties of the believers there made journeys of 69km and 53km respectively along the Appian Highway to welcome him.
God has watched over Paul throughout, and his purpose for him to visit Rome has at last been fulfilled. The authorities continue to treat Paul with noteworthy respect.
Next time we shall read the last part of the story told by Dr Luke, how he spent the next two years. Beyond that we know nothing except that Paul was finally executed.
Please be thinking what Scriptures you would like us to post for you to read after The New Year (lo gsar).
In the next and last post on The Acts of the Apostles, we shall be asking you for suggestions. Maybe you would like to read another of the Gospels, for example the gospel written by the Apostle John, or perhaps one of Paul’s letters, like the Letter to the Galatians?
After we were brought safely through, we then learned that the island was called Malta. The native people showed us unusual kindness, for they kindled a fire and welcomed us all, because it had begun to rain and was cold. When Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and put them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat and fastened on his hand. When the native people saw the creature hanging from his hand, they said to one another, “No doubt this man is a murderer. Though he has escaped from the sea, Justice has not allowed him to live.” He, however, shook off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm. They were waiting for him to swell up or suddenly fall down dead. But when they had waited a long time and saw no misfortune come to him, they changed their minds and said that he was a god.
Now in the neighborhood of that place were lands belonging to the chief man of the island, named Publius, who received us and entertained us hospitably for three days. It happened that the father of Publius lay sick with fever and dysentery. And Paul visited him and prayed, and putting his hands on him, healed him. And when this had taken place, the rest of the people on the island who had diseases also came and were cured. They also honored us greatly, and when we were about to sail, they put on board whatever we needed. (Acts 28:1-10)
Winter spent on Malta
Everyone was brought safely onto the land. In writing this Luke seems to be saying that it was God who saved them.
As for those three months on Malta, we read how the people helped them, and how Paul helped the Maltese people by praying for the sick; maybe Dr Luke also helped with the healing of illnesses.
We know that their stay on the island was not forgotten. Bro. Brian’s uncle lived on that same coast in a harbour town which is still called St. Paul’s Bay.
In the last two posts about the Acts of the Apostles we shall read how Paul reached and spent the next and perhaps the last two years of his life in Rome.
As day was about to dawn, Paul urged them all to take some food, saying, “Today is the fourteenth day that you have continued in suspense and without food, having taken nothing. Therefore I urge you to take some food. For it will give you strength, for not a hair is to perish from the head of any of you.” And when he had said these things, he took bread, and giving thanks to God in the presence of all he broke it and began to eat. Then they all were encouraged and ate some food themselves. (We were in all 276 persons in the ship.) And when they had eaten enough, they lightened the ship, throwing out the wheat into the sea.
Now when it was day, they did not recognize the land, but they noticed a bay with a beach, on which they planned if possible to run the ship ashore. So they cast off the anchors and left them in the sea, at the same time loosening the ropes that tied the rudders. Then hoisting the foresail to the wind they made for the beach. But striking a reef, they ran the vessel aground. The bow stuck and remained immovable, and the stern was being broken up by the surf. The soldiers’ plan was to kill the prisoners, lest any should swim away and escape. But the centurion, wishing to save Paul, kept them from carrying out their plan. He ordered those who could swim to jump overboard first and make for the land, and the rest on planks or on pieces of the ship. And so it was that all were brought safely to land. (Acts 27:33-44)
མཛད་པ། Acts 27:33-44
The ship was no longer in fit condition to continue its journey, and much of its cargo had been lost. The cold, wet and starved crew and passengers could not live on board any longer.
It was the second time that Paul spoke with prophetic words to encourage everyone, urging them all to believe that God would save them.
And so it happened, for in struggling through the waves to reach the land no one lost his life.