God's Salvation Has Been Sent to the Gentiles
Comments for Study 28
Memory Verse: 28:28
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The following is a time line:
Paul was arrested in Jerusalem (57 A.D., Acts 21:33)
Paul is transferred to Rome to stand at trial before Caesar (59-60 A.D., Acts 25:10-28:16)
Paul awaits for trial in Rome under house arrest. Acts is penned by Luke who was with Paul. (60-61 A.D. Acts 28:17 to end)
Paul underwent his first Roman imprisonment during which he wrote Ephesians, Philippians, Philemon, and Colossians. (61-62 A.D.)
Paul was released from prison. (between 62 and 64 A.D.)
Many have wondered why did Luke end the book this way? Why such details about Paul's arrest, trials, and trip to Rome? Why not to the end of Paul's life? Why doesn't Luke tell about the other apostles? Why doesn't he even mentioned the spread of the gospel to such places as Alexandria Egypt where large congregations flourished? Please read the following from The Wycliffe Bible Commentary.
"Luke has related the extension of the church from Jerusalem through Judea and Samaria until a semi-independent gentile church was established in Antioch. From Antioch the Gospel was carried by Paul on three missions through Asia and Europe. Evangelistic and missionary work was undoubtedly being carried on during this time by other apostles. We have, for instance, no account of evangelizing Egypt, with its great center, Alexandria. Luke is concerned only to trace the main outlines of what he considers to be the most significant line of expansion-toward Rome. There remains only the need to record Paul's mission of taking the Gospel to Rome.
"It is evident that it was not Luke's purpose to record the initial evangelizing of Rome nor the beginnings of the church there, for he tells how Christian brethren welcomed Paul upon his arrival at the capital (28:15). We know that Paul had written a letter to the church at Rome (Rom. 1:7), but Luke gives us no record of how the Gospel originally came to the Imperial City.
"Since Luke's purpose was not to describe the initial evangelizing of Rome, it possibly was to show that although Paul first preached the kingdom of God, he turned to the Gentiles when the Jews rejected his message (28:24-31). The geographical extension of the church was not Luke's main interest; it was rather The movement of redemptive history from the Jews to the Gentiles. In keeping with this purpose, Luke devotes considerable space to the record of Paul's last visit to Jerusalem, not because the visit was important in itself, but because it showed the final rejection of the Gospel by Jerusalem."
Thus ends the quote. The account is good. However, it lacks the answer to the most important question. What is God telling us, his church? Perhaps this; the gospel work is Jesus' work. Everything presented in this book shows that none of it was the will of men. God worked through his people in the way he wanted to. Many times his people didn't know what he was all doing. Yet God's will for the gospel to spread was accomplished. The body of Christ, the church, the Way, Christians, and any other terms that are used to describe Jesus' people is the work of our Shepherd, our potter, our builder, our Bridegroom, Jesus.
I. He Broke it and Began to Eat (27:1-44)
>1. Track the course of their trip on a map. (1-8)
* Acts 27:1-8 'When it was decided that we would sail for Italy, Paul and some other prisoners were handed over to a centurion named Julius, who belonged to the Imperial Regiment. We boarded a ship from Adramyttium about to sail for ports along the coast of the province of Asia, and we put out to sea. Aristarchus, a Macedonian from Thessalonica, was with us. The next day we landed at Sidon; and Julius, in kindness to Paul, allowed him to go to his friends so they might provide for his needs. From there we put out to sea again and passed to the lee of Cyprus because the winds were against us. When we had sailed across the open sea off the coast of Cilicia and Pamphylia, we landed at Myra in Lycia. There the centurion found an Alexandrian ship sailing for Italy and put us on board. We made slow headway for many days and had difficulty arriving off Cnidus. When the wind did not allow us to hold our course, we sailed to the lee of Crete, opposite Salmone. We moved along the coast with difficulty and came to a place called Fair Havens, near the town of Lasea."
* "we" -Luke was again with Paul.
* "Adramyttium" -A seaport on the north-west coast of modern Turkey in Roman province of Asia.
* "Aristarchus" -Aristarcus was Paul's traveling companion and was beaten for the gospel in Ephesus. (Acts 19:29, 20:4, 27:2) He is mentioned in Colossians 4:10 and Philemon 1:24. Therefore, he stayed with Paul in Rome until he sent him with the two letters to Colosse. He was a Macedonian from Thessalonica.
* "Sidon" -Sidon was a land of the Gentiles. It was on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea. Tyre was less than twenty miles to the south. Jesus possibly visited it when he visited Tyre in Matthew 15:21-28.
* "lee of" -Shelter from wind or weather given by a neighboring object, esp. nearby land. Cyprus' lee was a long thin strip of land pointing east.
* "Cyprus" -Island in the Mediterranean Sea around 100 miles (150km) west of Syria and around fifty miles (75 km) south of Cylicia.
* "Cilicia" -Paul's hometown, Tarsus is in the Roman territory of Cilicia. (21:39; 22:3) Cilicia was a geographical area and/or Roman province in south-eastern Asia Minor. The region was home to some of the people who opposed Stephen (Acts 6:9). It was located on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in the south-east part of Asia Minor.
* "Pamphylia" -Pamphylia was a Roman district eighty miles (100km) long and twenty miles (30km) long at the widest part, on the southern coast of Asia Minor. Perga was the capital of Pamphylia, a seaport a few miles inland.
* "Lycia" -A projection of land on the southern coast of Asia Minor between Caria and Pamphylia.
* "Myra" -Myra was one of the six largest cities of Lysia in south-eastern Asia Minor located on the River Andracus about two and one half miles from the sea. The site of the ancient ruins is called Dembre today. (Holman Bible Dictionary)
* "Cnidus" -Cnidus is on the south-west of modern Turkey.
* "Salmone" -Promontory on north-east coast of Crete; modern Cape Sidero. Temple to Athena Salmonia stood there. Thus, they were going the wrong direction, an unwanted backtrack.
* "Lasea" -On the south coast of Crete.
>What was obvious to Paul?
* Acts 27:9-10 "Much time had been lost, and sailing had already become dangerous because by now it was after the Fast. So Paul warned them, 'Men, I can see that our voyage is going to be disastrous and bring great loss to ship and cargo, and to our own lives also.'"
* "Fast" -The Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur in Hebrew) was also cast the Fast. It was in the fall during the seventh month on the Hebrew calendar.
* Winter traveling on any sea is dangerous because of strong cold winds and sudden storms.
* "ship and cargo" -Delivery of goods often is and was pay time for ships.
>Why would the owner and the ship captain object?
* Acts 27:11-12 "But the centurion, instead of listening to what Paul said, followed the advice of the pilot and of the owner of the ship. Since the harbor was unsuitable to winter in, the majority decided that we should sail on, hoping to reach Phoenix and winter there. This was a harbor in Crete, facing both south-west and north-west."
* Delivery of goods are usually time sensitive. The sooner goods can be delivered, the sooner money would be made. This would have been the last trip of the season. Who wants to be on an island a long way from home during the winter?
* "Phoenix" - Phoenix was a harbor in Crete, facing both south-west and north-west. Port on the south-east coast of Crete, on Phinika Bay to the west of Loutro.
>2. What happened? (13-20)
* Acts 27:13-20 "When a gentle south wind began to blow, they thought they had obtained what they wanted; so they weighed anchor and sailed along the shore of Crete. Before very long, a wind of hurricane force, called the "northeaster," swept down from the island. The ship was caught by the storm and could not head into the wind; so we gave way to it and were driven along. As we passed to the lee of a small island called Cauda, we were hardly able to make the lifeboat secure. When the men had hoisted it aboard, they passed ropes under the ship itself to hold it together. Fearing that they would run aground on the sandbars of Syrtis, they lowered the sea anchor and let the ship be driven along. We took such a violent battering from the storm that the next day they began to throw the cargo overboard. On the third day, they threw the ship's tackle overboard with their own hands. When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days and the storm continued raging, we finally gave up all hope of being saved."
* "Cauda" -A small island whose name is variously spelled in the Greek manuscripts. The island is modern Gavdos, south-west of Crete. (Holman Bible Dictionary)
* "Syrtis" -Probably what is now known as the Gulf of Sidra, a place of shallow water with hidden rocks, sandbanks, and quicksands off the African coast west of Cyrene. (Holman Bible Dictionary)
* "ship's tackle" -The running rigging and gear used to work a boat's sails.
* "we gave up all hope of being saved" -Luke and other believers were with Paul. Paul seems to be the only person calm.
* Everyone lost everything, including Paul, Timothy, Luke, Aristarchus and any other believers with them.
* "lifeboat" -A dingy usually towed in the rear.
* "a wind of hurricane force" -Why did this happen? Why send Paul this way to Rome? Why a scary storm? Why not a cruise? Jesus often sends his people out one a sea that will see storms. Jesus sent the twelve apostles in a boat all alone knowing the storm would come. God is never surprised by anything. We should not be either. We should realize that he uses storms for his good purpose. For the disciples and perhaps for Paul's companions it was for faith training. For the soldiers and sailors and the islanders (where they will land) it was so they could have a chance to put their faith in Jesus and see God's hand of salvation in a most vivid way.
>Why did Paul wait so long before he gave his advice again? (21)
* Acts 27:21 "After the men had gone a long time without food, Paul stood up before them and said: "Men, you should have taken my advice not to sail from Crete; then you would have spared yourselves this damage and loss."
* Paul was slow to speak because they had rejected his advice earlier. He waited until they had given up hope of being saved. Then, he believed they would listen to an old prisoner who was also Jewish Christian's advice.
>What good news did he have?
* Acts 27:22 "But now I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed."
* Paul started out reminding them of his former advice. Now he passes on the hope that he had received.
* "courage" -Courage is the result of faith. Though it should be because of faith in the love of God, it is often based in something else -perhaps the word of someone who has faith, as in Paul's words here.
* Paul is becoming the leader of the soldiers and the sailors.
>What does verse 23 mean?
* Acts 27:23 "Last night an angel of the God whose I am and whom I serve stood beside me"
* "an angel" -An angle is being in the spirit, though he can also be visible to humans.
* "of the God whose I am" -The angle was from God, the God whom Paul belonged to.
* "whom I serve" -God owned Paul and Paul served him.
* All Christians belong to God and we all are called to serve him. Hebrews 9:14 states, "How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!" And Romans 7:6 states, "But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.'
>What does verse 24 mean?
* Acts 27:24 "and said, 'Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar; and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.'"
* "Do not be afraid" -A very common greeting when the Lord or angles appear to men.
* "You must" -There is no question about it. Paul was predestined to stand trial in Rome.
* "before Caesar" -Jesus told his disciples, "On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles." (Matt. 10:18) And "the Lord said to Ananias (the man who first went to Paul at Paul's conversion), 'Go! This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.'" (Acts 9:15-16)
* "given you the lives" -Paul and the other believers were praying for the lives of all on board. God answered his prayer.
>3. what did Paul have faith in?
* Acts 27:25 "So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me."
* "I have faith in God" -Paul had been promised that he would go to Rome. He believed. This is what the life of faith is all about.
* Life is a great sea and our lives are little boats. We can sail our boats by human supposition if we choose. Friends, there is a storm blowing out there, a bit of a gale (and increasing all the time). the tragedy is that, amid confusion, world chaos, and darkness, most men are still guessing. There are a thousand human plans for building a better world. Yet everywhere we look we see failure. We need men who know God. It was Gladstone who said, "The mark of a great statesman is a man who knows the way God is going for the next fifty years." We don't seem to find many such men around today. (J. V. McGee, Thru the Bible Commentary -Acts)
* We have been given many promises in the Bible. Do we believe that they will happen just as he told us? Often we do not understand the promise. Yet, we are to believe. I don't believe Abraham knew how the Lord was going to fulfill the promises to him, especially when the Lord said, "Count the starts if you can." Yet Abraham believed. "And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore." The fact that the seed was faith may have not been clear to Abraham for he was looking for a son. (Heb. 11:12)
>What did they still have to do?
* Acts 27:26 "Nevertheless, we must run aground on some island."
* Sometimes when God gives us his promise we still have to do something by faith in the promise. Faith is followed by deeds. God looks for us to have this kind of faith. Jesus often said, "Your faith has healed you." The only thing Jesus was amazed at was faith. "When Jesus heard (a centurion's faith), he was astonished and said to those following him, 'I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'" (Matt. 8:10-12)
>4. What did the sailors try to do?
* Acts 27:27-30 "On the fourteenth night we were still being driven across the Adriatic Sea, when about midnight the sailors sensed they were approaching land. They took soundings and found that the water was a hundred and twenty feet deep. A short time later they took soundings again and found it was ninety feet deep. Fearing that we would be dashed against the rocks, they dropped four anchors from the stern and prayed for daylight. In an attempt to escape from the ship, the sailors let the lifeboat down into the sea, pretending they were going to lower some anchors from the bow."
* "Adriatic Sea" -The part of the Mediterranean Sea that is between Macedonia (and Achaia) and Italy.
* "sensed" -Several things change where the sea meets land; birds fly, the smell changes, the waves of the sea are different, sound changes, and weather changes.
* "took soundings" -with a knotted rope. The knots were evenly spaced apart.
* "hundred and twenty feet deep" -36.5 meters
* "four anchors from the stern" -an attempt to stop or at least slow down the approach to land.
* "prayed for daylight" -to their gods. Someone once said, "There are no atheist in foxholes," meaning in a battle hole.
* "pretending" -Actions in fear show the real source of their faith and hope.
>How did Paul know what he knew? (31)
* Acts 27:31 "Then Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, "Unless these men stay with the ship, you cannot be saved."
* How did Paul know these things? Paul understood man's sinful nature for self preservation, deception, and lies at the cost of other's well being. Galatians 5:19-21 states, "The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God." In 1984, around two years after I accepted Christ I began reading from the Bible a chapter a day, every day starting from Matthew. When I reached these verses the Holy Spirit convicted me of my sinful activities. I had the fear of God and stopped drinking beer and partying. I prayed God to lead me, taking full control of my life, as I had ask him two years earlier. Shortly after that, in 1985 I began to study the Bible with a man of faith, a Korean immigrant, and witnessing about Jesus to family, friends, and casual acquaintances.
* We can not be saved unless we acknowledge the errors of our sinful ways and have a true desire to stop sinning and start living by faith in Jesus. Cut yourself free of the sinful life. Let no temptation to your old sinful life stay attached to your mind, heart, soul, and strength. Galatians 5:13 states, "You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love."
>How does Paul's demeanor differ from the rest on the ship?
* Acts 27:32-34 "So the soldiers cut the ropes that held the lifeboat and let it fall away. Just before dawn Paul urged them all to eat. "For the last fourteen days," he said, "you have been in constant suspense and have gone without food--you haven't eaten anything. Now I urge you to take some food. You need it to survive. Not one of you will lose a single hair from his head."
* Throughout the entire voyage Paul's presence of mind and ascendency to a place of leadership, through a prisoner, were remarkable. Too, the hand of God controlling every wind, wave, officer, and sailor, was evident. All circumstances were under God's loving hand. (C. C. Ryrie, The Acts of the Apostles)
>What does it tell us in the way Paul eat?
* Acts 27:35-38 "After he said this, he took some bread and gave thanks to God in front of them all. Then he broke it and began to eat. They were all encouraged and ate some food themselves. Altogether there were 276 of us on board. When they had eaten as much as they wanted, they lightened the ship by throwing the grain into the sea."
* "took some bread..." -Paul imitated Jesus and had a communion service during and before times of hardship and trouble.
* "gave thanks" -Thanksgiving and praise occupy a large place in the Bible. David, whose psalms are an inspiration for praise, said, "It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High" (Ps. 92:1). Too little place is given to thanksgiving and praise in the life and prayers of the average Christian. The gracious dealings of the Lord with His people make thanksgiving and praise only proper. We need to learn not only the grace of giving, but also the grace of saying thank you. That Jesus waits to hear our thanks is told simply in the story of Jesus' healing of ten lepers, "Weren't all ten men made clean? Where are the other nine? Could they not also come back and give thanks to God? Could only this foreigner come?" (Luke 17:17-18) (I. L. Jensen, A Self-Study Guide, Acts)
* "throwing the grain to sea" -Lightening the load would raise the ship and perhaps miss the sharp hard rocks under the water.
>What does their landing tell us?
* Acts 27:39-44 "When daylight came, they did not recognize the land, but they saw a bay with a sandy beach, where they decided to run the ship aground if they could.
40 Cutting loose the anchors, they left them in the sea and at the same time untied the ropes that held the rudders. Then they hoisted the foresail to the wind and made for the beach.
41 But the ship struck a sandbar and ran aground. The bow stuck fast and would not move, and the stern was broken to pieces by the pounding of the surf.
42 The soldiers planned to kill the prisoners to prevent any of them from swimming away and escaping.
43 But the centurion wanted to spare Paul's life and kept them from carrying out their plan. He ordered those who could swim to jump overboard first and get to land.
44 The rest were to get there on planks or on pieces of the ship. In this way everyone reached land in safety."
* The Lord fulfilled his words to Paul.
II. He Preached the Kingdom (28:1-31)
>5. Where did they end up?
* Acts 28:1-2 "Once safely on shore, we found out that the island was called Malta. The islanders showed us unusual kindness. They built a fire and welcomed us all because it was raining and cold."
* "Malta" -A small island south of Sicily. The bay where they landed is now called Saint Paul's Bay.
* "showed us kindness" -Just because a person doesn't believe in Jesus does mean that they have no sense of kindness. Romans 2:14-15 states, "Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them."
* Accepting 276 people, some of whom are prisoners so kindly is truly a great act of kindness.
>What happened to Paul?
* Acts 28:3 "Paul gathered a pile of brushwood and, as he put it on the fire, a viper, driven out by the heat, fastened itself on his hand."
* "Paul gathered a pile of brushwood" -Paul was not to high and mighty that he did not refuse physical labor. Not only was he a tentmaker, but he was willing to work physically.
* "driven out by the heat" -Paul did not see the snake. Perhaps this was the "thorn in the side" that he mentions elsewhere.
* In a way the is a prediction of what will happen to Satan at the end of this age. He has been biting us for two thousand years, but the gospel has not died. Instead, he will be case into the fires of hell for one thousand years. (Rev. 20:2-7)
* There are no poisonous snakes on the island now. Some believe it was because of this incident which of course is superstition.
>What did the islanders expect?
* Acts 28:4 When the islanders saw the snake hanging from his hand, they said to each other, "This man must be a murderer; for though he escaped from the sea, Justice has not allowed him to live."
* "must be a murderer" -They did not know his accused crime, they only assumed.
* "Justice" -They personified an abstract.
>How is this typical human thinking even in our day?
* Human nature likes to believe that in this life justice acts as a force of nature and/or innate act of God. The popular belief in karma is that a person's destiny or fate follows effect from cause. This believe is not based on the existence of a personal loving God. Jesus taught of God's nature, "You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous." (Matt. 5:43-45) "So then," you might ask, "is justice served?" Justice will be obtained after death before the seat of Jesus. All will give an account of the actions they lived in this life.
>When their predictions proved wrong how did they change their minds?
* Acts 28:5-6 "But Paul shook the snake off into the fire and suffered no ill effects. The people expected him to swell up or suddenly fall dead, but after waiting a long time and seeing nothing unusual happen to him, they changed their minds and said he was a god.'"
* "suffered no ill effect" -A trend in some areas is when people have snakes bit them to see if they can live the event. This is not of God. Jesus did promise that if poisoned or bitten by snakes we would live. (Mark 16:17-18) However, Paul did not go out and tempt God by finding the snake so that he could be bitten. This happened by accident.
* "nothing unusual" -Paul did not break into a sweat or swell up.
* "changed their minds" -When one human philosophy and belief proves wrong the sinner rejects it for another without acknowledging that they don't know.
>What would people today say and why?
* I doubt that most people today wouldn't say someone is a god. However, they might call a person who was not affected by a snake bit as weird, abnormal. a fluke of nature, or give some scientific explanation based on speculation and pride.
>6. How was the love and grace of Jesus displayed through Paul? (7-10)
* Acts 28:7-10 "There was an estate nearby that belonged to Publius, the chief official of the island. He welcomed us to his home and for three days entertained us hospitably. His father was sick in bed, suffering from fever and dysentery. Paul went in to see him and, after prayer, placed his hands on him and healed him. When this had happened, the rest of the sick on the island came and were cured. They honored us in many ways and when we were ready to sail, they furnished us with the supplies we needed."
* "us.. we" -Paul and Dr. Luke healed. Dr. Luke is considered a physician. Thus, the people paid for a doctor's help and not the miracles. It would have been wrong to be paid for miracles.
>7. How and when did they finally arrive in Rome? (11-14)
* Acts 28:11-14 "After three months we put out to sea in a ship that had wintered in the island. It was an Alexandrian ship with the figurehead of the twin gods Castor and Pollux. We put in at Syracuse and stayed there three days. From there we set sail and arrived at Rhegium. The next day the south wind came up, and on the following day we reached Puteoli. There we found some brothers who invited us to spend a week with them. And so we came to Rome."
* "Alexandrian" -Probably bringing the fall wheat harvest from Egypt to Italy.
* Acts 19:21 records Paul expressing his desire to go to Rome and preach the gospel. His prayers are now answered several years later.
* "Syracuse" -Syracuse is a major city on the island of Sicily.
* "Rhegium" -Port located at the south-western tip of the Italian boot about seven miles (11 km) across the strait of Messina from Sicily.
* "Puteoli" -Modern Pozzuoli, almost 200 miles from Rhegium. It was situated in the northern part of the Bay of Naples and was the chief port of Rome, though 75 miles (120 km) away. The population at this time included Jews and Christians.
* The gospel was well established in Italy although Luke never records who first brought the gospel message nor how it spread there.
* The fact that the Roman guards let Paul stay there for ten days was the result of God's work on the trip. Paul was given guarded escort. He would not be persecuted as he had been up until this time. God often works in mysterious ways.
>What does the greeting they experienced tell us?
* Acts 28:15-16 "The brothers there had heard that we were coming, and they traveled as far as the Forum of Appius and the Three Taverns to meet us. At the sight of these men Paul thanked God and was encouraged. When we got to Rome, Paul was allowed to live by himself, with a soldier to guard him."
* "Forum of Appius" -A small town 43 miles (70km) from Rome noted for its wickedness.
* "the Three Taverns" -A town 33 miles (53km) from Rome. Tavern could mean any type of shop.
* They were getting a very warm welcome. The love and fellowship amongst believers from different areas is all to common. Runners must have told the believers in the area of Paul's arrival. The greeting must have moved the Roman soldiers.
>8. What was the first thing Paul did and why? (28:17-20)
* Acts 28:17-20 "Three days later he called together the leaders of the Jews. When they had assembled, Paul said to them: "My brothers, although I have done nothing against our people or against the customs of our ancestors, I was arrested in Jerusalem and handed over to the Romans. They examined me and wanted to release me, because I was not guilty of any crime deserving death. But when the Jews objected, I was compelled to appeal to Caesar--not that I had any charge to bring against my own people. For this reason I have asked to see you and talk with you. It is because of the hope of Israel that I am bound with this chain."
* Paul followed his usual practice of going to the Jews first.
>Why do you think they had not heard of anything?
* Acts 28:21 They replied, "We have not received any letters from Judea concerning you, and none of the brothers who have come from there has reported or said anything bad about you."
* The fact that they had no word from the Jews in Palestine concerning Paul's case seems to indicate that Paul's persecutors had decided not to prosecute the case further, probably because they realized that Caesar would pronounce Paul not guilty. By not showing up in Rome to prosecute they would simply let the case go by default, and Roman law would keep Paul there more than 18 months before he could be judged innocent by default. In this way Paul would be kept out of circulations and yet the Jews would not risk allowing Christianity to be judged a non-treasonous religion. (W. M. Ramsay, The Teaching of Paul in Terms of the Present Day, pages 346-371)
>What were the Jews in Rome curious about?
* Acts 28:22 "But we want to hear what your views are, for we know that people everywhere are talking against this sect.""
* "people everywhere" -The first century believers told so many people about Jesus that the news spread quickly. Today most people who call themselves Christians are ashamed of Jesus. Jesus said, "If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father's glory with the holy angels." (Mark 8:38)
>9. How does Luke sum up Paul's message? (23)
* Acts 28:23 "They arranged to meet Paul on a certain day, and came in even larger numbers to the place where he was staying. From morning till evening he explained and declared to them the kingdom of God and tried to convince them about Jesus from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets."
* Luke has many times already recorded Paul's gospel message. He did not take time here to recite it again. Paul did not change his message during his whole life because it was the message of God.
>How did they respond to Paul and what did he reveal about the unbelievers? (24-27)
* Acts 28:24-27 "Some were convinced by what he said, but others would not believe. They disagreed among themselves and began to leave after Paul had made this final statement: "The Holy Spirit spoke the truth to your forefathers when he said through Isaiah the prophet: 'Go to this people and say, "You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving." For this people's heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.'"
* This is the usually reaction that Paul received, though without the violence. This is because Paul was surrounded by Roman guards.
>What was the result?
* Acts 28:28-29 "Therefore I want you to know that God's salvation has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will listen!"
* Paul make it clear, as he did before, that the gospel was being preached and accepted by the Gentiles. 1 Peter 2:9-10 states of the gentiles, "But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.'
>What did Paul continue to boldly do for two whole years while under house arrest?
* Acts 28:30-31 "For two whole years Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him. Boldly and without hindrance he preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.'
* "welcomed all" -Many had come to Paul as can be seen in the four prison letters, mentioned at the beginning of this study.
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