Rental

Acts 28
30 Then Paul dwelt two whole years in his own rented house, and received all who came to him, 31 preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence, no one forbidding him.

So Paul started a home group for 2 years after coming to Rome. He had 1 guard watching him.
(but Paul was permitted to dwell by himself with the soldier who guarded him.)

He was technically untouchable. No one could stop him because it was technically under Roman protection at this point. I find it interesting that it says he “rented” a house. How did he PAY for the rent?

I did some quick researching and came up with nothing.

Your hearts have grown dull.

Acts 28
23 So when they had appointed him a day, many came to him at his lodging, to whom he explained and solemnly testified of the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus from both the Law of Moses and the Prophets, from morning till evening. 24 And some were persuaded by the things which were spoken, and some disbelieved. 25 So when they did not agree among themselves, they departed after Paul had said one word: “The Holy Spirit spoke rightly through Isaiah the prophet to [e]our fathers, 26 saying,

‘Go to this people and say:
“Hearing you will hear, and shall not understand;
And seeing you will see, and not perceive;
27 For the hearts of this people have grown dull.
Their ears are hard of hearing,
And their eyes they have closed,
Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears,
Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn,
So that I should heal them.” ’

28 “Therefore let it be known to you that the salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will hear it!” 29 [f]And when he had said these words, the Jews departed and had a great dispute among themselves.

Paul started teaching the Jews about Jesus and his resurrection, and like everywhere else he had been, they did not agree.
Paul then proceeds to tell them their hearts are dull and they cannot “see” or “hear” the truth. Ouch.

After these comments, the Jews leave and start fighting among themselves.
The Word of God can and will cause division. Truth is truth.
However, I find it odd that instead of trying to minister some more with love, Paul recites a scripture that is very abrasive. Maybe we are too soft in the Christian community right now? Maybe we NEED to call people out more.

Paul explains himself.

Acts 28
17 And it came to pass after three days that Paul called the leaders of the Jews together. So when they had come together, he said to them: “Men and brethren, though I have done nothing against our people or the customs of our fathers, yet I was delivered as a prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans, 18 who, when they had examined me, wanted to let me go, because there was no cause for putting me to death. 19 But when the [d]Jews spoke against it, I was compelled to appeal to Caesar, not that I had anything of which to accuse my nation. 20 For this reason therefore I have called for you, to see you and speak with you, because for the hope of Israel I am bound with this chain.”

21 Then they said to him, “We neither received letters from Judea concerning you, nor have any of the brethren who came reported or spoken any evil of you. 22 But we desire to hear from you what you think; for concerning this sect, we know that it is spoken against everywhere.”

The Message helps me understand this bit of scripture:
After the Romans investigated the charges and found there was nothing to them, they wanted to set me free, but the Jews objected so fiercely that I was forced to appeal to Caesar. I did this not to accuse them of any wrongdoing or to get our people in trouble with Rome. We’ve had enough trouble through the years that way. I did it for Israel. I asked you to come and listen to me today to make it clear that I’m on Israel’s side, not against her. I’m a hostage here for hope, not doom.”

21-22 They said, “Nobody wrote warning us about you. And no one has shown up saying anything bad about you. But we would like very much to hear more. The only thing we know about this Christian sect is that nobody seems to have anything good to say about it.”

It seems like Paul is preemptively speaking with the Jews in this area to explain himself so he might have some allies. Give me your thoughts…

You got a friend in me.

Thank you for all the comments yesterday!

Today it seems Paul will finish his voyage to Rome.

Acts 28
11 After three months we sailed in an Alexandrian ship whose figurehead was the [c]Twin Brothers, which had wintered at the island. 12 And landing at Syracuse, we stayed three days. 13 From there we circled round and reached Rhegium. And after one day the south wind blew; and the next day we came to Puteoli, 14 where we found brethren, and were invited to stay with them seven days. And so we went toward Rome. 15 And from there, when the brethren heard about us, they came to meet us as far as Appii Forum and Three Inns. When Paul saw them, he thanked God and took courage.

16 Now when we came to Rome, the centurion delivered the prisoners to the captain of the guard; but Paul was permitted to dwell by himself with the soldier who guarded him.

tn Or “the ‘Twin Gods’”; Grk “the Dioscuri” (a joint name for the pagan deities Castor and Pollux). sn That had the “Heavenly Twins” as its figurehead. The twin brothers Castor and Pollux, known collectively as the Dioscuri or “Heavenly Twins,” were the twin sons of Zeus and Leda according to Greek mythology. The Alexandrian ship on which Paul and his companions sailed from Malta had a carved emblem or figurehead of these figures, and they would have been the patron deities of the vessel. Castor and Pollux were the “gods of navigation.” To see their stars was considered a good omen.

https://leonmauldin.blog/2012/05/01/the-twin-brothers-castor-and-pollux/

So Paul found friends at Appii Forum and Three Inns. Paul’s followers must have been tracking his journey with the intent of seeing him. This brought Paul much encouragement.
Sometimes just visiting someone is all we need to do to spread love and encourage. Be open to the leading of the Spirit.

The Rest of the Island

Acts 28:7 In that region there was an estate of the [b]leading citizen of the island, whose name was Publius, who received us and entertained us courteously for three days. 8 And it happened that the father of Publius lay sick of a fever and dysentery. Paul went in to him and prayed, and he laid his hands on him and healed him. 9 So when this was done, the rest of those on the island who had diseases also came and were healed. 10 They also honored us in many ways; and when we departed, they provided such things as were necessary.

A preacher once pointed out that Paul laid his hands on Publius’ father and prayed for him. It does not say anyone else was prayed for, or had hands laid on them.

My guess is that after everyone heard of the miracle of Publius’ father, they all came to see Paul. Paul then preached Christ crucified and the healing power of God. They heard for themselves and received. No one was left out.

Venom

Acts 28
5 But he shook off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm. 6 However, they were expecting that he would swell up or suddenly fall down dead. But after they had looked for a long time and saw no harm come to him, they changed their minds and said that he was a god.

I am picturing a funny scene where all these natives are staring at Paul waiting for him to die, and Paul is just carrying on, and continuing to do what he had been doing.

Without modern medicine, things like a snake bite where immediate death. There was no antivenom. There was no ER.
Paul did not react in fear. He knew the healing power of his Lord, and his mission.

We can all use this same mindset. We can all practice this. God is no respecter of persons. That which He did for Paul, He can do for you! Live a life without fear while ministering the gospel.

My Name is Paul

Acts 28
Now when they had escaped, they then found out that the island was called Malta. 2 And the natives[a] showed us unusual kindness; for they kindled a fire and made us all welcome, because of the rain that was falling and because of the cold. 3 But when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and laid them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat, and fastened on his hand. 4 So when the natives saw the creature hanging from his hand, they said to one another, “No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he has escaped the sea, yet justice does not allow to live.”

So they finally find land again on an island called Malta. The natives are unusually kind (more favor of God.)

What happens next can either be described as the worst luck in the world, or more attacks from the enemy.
The natives of Malta believe it is some form of Karma. They believe Paul is a murderer who has done evil things, and even though he escaped the sea, justice will prevail.

Whether this viper that has bitten Paul is a tool of the enemy or just nature being nature, it does not matter. For Paul, it is an opportunity. We do not need to know WHY things happen. We only need to know that our answer is always in the Lord.

Going to hell

I found this very interesting. He provides a lot of good scripture.

Shipwreck and Kill

Acts 27
39 When it was day, they did not recognize the land; but they observed a bay with a beach, onto which they planned to run the ship if possible. 40 And they [h]let go the anchors and left them in the sea, meanwhile loosing the rudder ropes; and they hoisted the mainsail to the wind and made for shore. 41 But striking [i]a place where two seas met, they ran the ship aground; and the prow stuck fast and remained immovable, but the stern was being broken up by the violence of the waves.

42 And the soldiers’ plan was to kill the prisoners, lest any of them should swim away and escape. 43 But the centurion, wanting to save Paul, kept them from their purpose, and commanded that those who could swim should jump overboard first and get to land, 44 and the rest, some on boards and some on parts of the ship. And so it was that they all escaped safely to land.

I find it a little ignorant that the soldiers had a plan to kill the prisoners. Paul just saved their lives with the knowledge given to him by the Lord and had already proven at the previous port that he had no interest in escaping.

So the front of the boat stuck in the ground and the rear of the boat was getting busted up by the waves. Those that could swim, swam. The rest floated to shore on parts of the boat. Paul’s prophesy had been correct.

Paul’s in Charge. Not Charles.

We have come a long way on this journey from ignoring Paul, to Paul becoming the person who is seemingly in charge.

Acts 27
33 And as day was about to dawn, Paul implored them all to take food, saying, “Today is the fourteenth day you have waited and continued without food, and eaten nothing. 34 Therefore I urge you to take nourishment, for this is for your survival, since not a hair will fall from the head of any of you.” 35 And when he had said these things, he took bread and gave thanks to God in the presence of them all; and when he had broken it he began to eat. 36 Then they were all encouraged, and also took food themselves. 37 And in all we were two hundred and seventy-six persons on the ship. 38 So when they had eaten enough, they lightened the ship and threw out the wheat into the sea.

So Paul is instructing them not to escape. Paul is instructing them to eat. Paul the prisoner is now directing a ship full of Roman soldiers, and they are all watching him and following.

This is the impact of a true person following after Christ.

Proverbs 3
3 Let not mercy and truth forsake you;
Bind them around your neck,
Write them on the tablet of your heart,
4 And so find favor and [a]high esteem
In the sight of God and man.