Episode #117. Today we’ll read Acts chapter 28 together. All of those with Paul recovered on the island of Malta, he finally arrived in Rome and made his first appeal to the Roman Jews, and his ministry continued unhindered.
Joy: You’re listening to the Lifting Her Voice podcast, Episode #117. Today we’ll read Acts chapter 28 together: All of those with Paul recovered on the island of Malta; he finally arrived in Rome and made his first appeal to the Roman Jews; and his ministry continued unhindered.
Welcome to the Lifting Her Voice podcast. I’m your host, Joy Miller, and I invite you to grab your Bible and join me as we simply read God’s word together. Some things require discipline and sometimes that’s just not easy to muster by yourself, no matter how badly you want to do it or how much you know you should. It’s just easier to do it with a friend. So refill your coffee or tea, get comfortable in your favorite chair and follow along as I read aloud. I’m so glad you’re here!
Another one down! You have now finished an overview of the history of Christ’s new Church and the spread of the Gospel by the apostles and Paul. Great job! You are nearly halfway thru the New Testament – 117 chapters out of 260. You are finally achieving this goal and it’s awesome. But more than the numbers and more than the goal, I know that you know Christ better. You know firsthand how dependable He is, how He always spoke truth, and you know how His Church was born and grew and spread.
I hope you are allowing His word to change you. It’s the key piece of evidence that we are His followers and not just giving lip service to Him. It doesn’t come all at once…it’s a process. Romans (which we’ll be starting tomorrow) chapter 12, verse 2 says this: “Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.” Allow His Word to transform you.
Acts Chapter 28
Once safely ashore, we then learned that the island was called Malta. The local people showed us extraordinary kindness. They lit a fire and took us all in, since it was raining and cold. As Paul gathered a bundle of brushwood and put it on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat and fastened itself on his hand. When the local people saw the snake hanging from his hand, they said to one another, “This man, no doubt, is a murderer. Even though he has escaped the sea, Justice has not allowed him to live.” But he shook the snake off into the fire and suffered no harm. They expected that he would begin to swell up or suddenly drop dead. After they waited a long time and saw nothing unusual happen to him, they changed their minds and said he was a god.
Ministry in Malta
Now in the area around that place was an estate belonging to the leading man of the island, named Publius, who welcomed us and entertained us hospitably for three days. Publius’s father was in bed suffering from fever and dysentery. Paul went to him, and praying and laying his hands on him, he healed him. After this, the rest of those on the island who had diseases also came and were healed. So they heaped many honors on us, and when we sailed, they gave us what we needed.
Rome at Last
After three months we set sail in an Alexandrian ship that had wintered at the island, with the Twin Gods as its figurehead. Putting in at Syracuse, we stayed three days. From there, after making a circuit along the coast, we reached Rhegium. After one day a south wind sprang up, and the second day we came to Puteoli. There we found brothers and sisters and were invited to stay a week with them. And so we came to Rome. Now the brothers and sisters from there had heard the news about us and had come to meet us as far as the Forum of Appius and the Three Taverns. When Paul saw them, he thanked God and took courage. When we entered Rome, Paul was allowed to live by himself with the soldier who guarded him.
Paul’s First Interview with Roman Jews
After three days he called together the leaders of the Jews. When they had gathered he said to them, “Brothers, although I have done nothing against our people or the customs of our ancestors, I was delivered as a prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans. After they examined me, they wanted to release me, since there was no reason for the death penalty in my case. Because the Jews objected, I was compelled to appeal to Caesar; even though I had no charge to bring against my people. For this reason I’ve asked to see you and speak to you. In fact, it is for the hope of Israel that I’m wearing this chain.”
Then they said to him, “We haven’t received any letters about you from Judea. None of the brothers has come and reported or spoken anything evil about you. But we want to hear what your views are, since we know that people everywhere are speaking against this sect.”
The Response to Paul’s Message
After arranging a day with him, many came to him at his lodging. From dawn to dusk he expounded and testified about the kingdom of God. He tried to persuade them about Jesus from both the Law of Moses and the Prophets. Some were persuaded by what he said, but others did not believe.
Disagreeing among themselves, they began to leave after Paul made one statement:
“The Holy Spirit was right in saying to your ancestors through the prophet Isaiah when he said,
Go to these people and say:
You will always be listening,
but never understanding;
and you will always be looking,
but never perceiving.
For the hearts of these people
have grown callous,
their ears are hard of hearing,
and they have shut their eyes;
otherwise they might see with their eyes
and hear with their ears,
understand with their heart
and I would heal them.
Therefore, let it be known to you that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will listen.”
Paul’s Ministry Unhindered
Paul stayed two whole years in his own rented house. And he welcomed all who visited him, proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance.
I think it’s a little bit hilarious that after all of the grief the Jewish religious leaders tried to give Paul in Jerusalem and all the surrounding areas and in front of Felix and Festus, they never even bothered to send so much as a letter to their counterparts in Rome. The Roman Jews were ultimately split on The Way, but Paul didn’t miss the opportunity to quote Isaiah the prophet again, pointing out that if the Jews didn’t listen, he was going to the Gentiles. Which he did. Again.
Let’s pray. Oh, Lord, what a wild ride! Thank You for Paul – for choosing Paul. He was tireless and disciplined and passionate, and we can’t help but be inspired by him to be the same way. Thank You for his example. Thank You for Biblical maps, Lord, that we could follow along and see for ourselves the ripple effect of the Great Commission. And now, Lord, we ask that You prepare our hearts for the wisdom imparted in the book of Romans. Open our eyes, Lord, to what You want us to discover and live out. Transform our hearts, Lord. In Your name we pray, Amen.
Thank you for joining me here today. I pray God will grow in you what has been planted and watered here. In this time of unprecedented struggle worldwide, we can look to God for guidance and comfort. Be sensitive to those in your circle of influence who need a word of encouragement and invite them to join us. If you like this show, it would be great if you give it a five-star review. Don’t forget to subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. See you right here tomorrow. Be well!
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible(r), Copyright (c) 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible(r) and CSB(r) are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
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