The Way - Day 132 (Acts 28)

Daily Reading:
Acts 28
Don't forget to journal in your Foundations Book!
Daily Reading Audio Commentary:
Today's Question or Action Step:
Read aloud Acts 1:6-9. It is the charge and purpose of the church to take the Gospel to the ends of the earth. How might you join in fulfilling this purpose through the ministries of your church?
Weekly Memory Verse(s):
OPTION 1: Psalm 51:10-11
OPTION 2: Proverbs 18:21
OPTION 3: Matthew 6:7-8
Further Study Resources:
Study Guide for Acts 28 (Enduring Word - David Guzik)
Pastor Tom's Journal on Today's Reading:
Acts 28
In this concluding chapter of Acts written by Luke, Paul was a prisoner aboard a ship which was headed to Rome. He had been taken prisoner several years before (Acts 21:26-36) when many of the Jews became angry about Paul's preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. In reality, the Jews falsely accused Paul of teaching people to disregard the law of Moses and stirred up this controversy wherever he preached (Acts 21:21). In order to defend himself, Paul had already made his case to the governor Felix (Acts 24:10-27), the governor Festus (Acts 25:1-12), as well as King Agrippa (Acts 26:1-32). All of his attempts at explaining his message landed on deaf ears and his imprisonment on this ship was his current circumstance. After many weeks on aboard the ship as a prisoner, God miraculously delivered the 276 passengers (27:37) from certain death as they weathered a fourteen day storm (Acts 27). Although their landing was not smooth, each person escaped to the island nearby (27:44).

When they escaped from the ship, they "found out that the island was called Malta" which is about sixty miles south of Sicily (28:1). This means that the storm had brought them approximately 600 miles from the island of Crete. Luke writes that the inhabitants of Malta showed them hospitality and even made them a fire to keep them warm (28:2), "but when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and laid them on the fire, a viper came out...and fastened on his hand" (28:3). Upon seeing this, the superstitious natives thought Paul must have been a murderer (28:4), but he simply shook the snake from his hand and was not injured (28:5). The residents of Malta were waiting for him to drop dead, but when they witnessed that no harm had come to him they thought he was a god (28:6).

For the next three days Paul resided in the home of Publius, whose father became gravely ill (28:7-8a), so Paul prays and the man is healed (28:8b). When everyone on the island of Malta heard that Paul had healed this man, those who were sick also came and were healed (28:9). For the next three months, Paul was honored in many ways and the people "provided such things as were necessary" (28:10). When the weather made travel by sea possible again, Paul sailed on an Alexandrian ship to Rome and "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" (28:11-16). Acts 28:30 reveals that Paul's captivity arrangement was like being under house arrest.

After he had been in Rome for three days, Paul called for the Jewish leaders of the synagogue and again defended himself declaring that he was not guilty of disrespecting Jewish people or their traditions (28:17-19). Paul explained that the only reason he was a prisoner was for speaking the truth about the hope of Israel, meaning that Jesus Christ was the promised Messiah who had died and rose again for the sins of mankind (28:20). The Jewish religious leaders acted as if they did not know anything about Paul or the message he had been spreading in Jerusalem, so they provided him an outlet to speak (28:21-22).

When the day arrived, many came to Paul's residence to hear him teach about Jesus Christ - some believed what he was saying might be true and some did not (28:23-24). This disagreement amongst them caused them to leave, but before they departed Paul quoted from the prophet Isaiah saying, "...the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes 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" (28:27). Through his words to the Jews, Paul was exposing their refusal to believe in Jesus Christ as the Messiah and their rejection caused Paul to say, "Therefore let it be known to you that the salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will hear it!" (28:28) Paul had preached to many Jews throughout his missionary journeys and most turned their back on his message, so the gospel would now be focused on reaching the Gentiles.

Paul spent the next two years in Rome receiving all who would come to him and "preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence..." (28:30-31). During this two year imprisonment, Paul also wrote the "Prison Epistles" which are Ephesians, Colossians, Philemon, and Philippians. So, at the conclusion of the book of Acts we find that Paul has successfully taken the gospel from Jerusalem to Rome bringing light to the world through the hope which is in Jesus Christ.

Dear God, make me a faithful witness of the gospel to all people, tongues, tribes, and nations.