Paul in the Island of Malta: Acts 28:1-10.
Paul and rest of the people who escaped the shipwreck, landed on the island of Malta. Historians suggest that one time Malta was a part of the territory of Carthage. The term "barbarous" does not refer to primitive culture but simply means they spoke unintelligible language. The people of the island were very kind to them. They had shown kindness by building fire to welcome Paul and others. While Paul putting stick to the fire, a viper fastened on his hand. The native people said to each other “No doubt this man is a murderer, though he escaped justice god has not allowed him to live”. This was a common concept among those people. However Paul shook of the snake into the fire and suffered no harm. Then they changed their mind and said that he was a god. As a result the chief of the island, whose name was Publius, treated them kindly for three days. His father was ill with fever and dysentery. Paul prayed and healed him. Then all the other sick people on the island came and were healed. As a result Islanders supplied them with everything needed for their trip. Christians are saved to serve others (Ephesians 2:10). Pray that God would give you a heart of compassion towards people who are hurting. This is one of the effective ways to witness Christ.
Paul Arrives at Rome: Acts 28:11-16.
In spite of difficulties and trials, Paul was determined to spread the gospel and nothing could stop him from his mission. His long journey finally provided him the opportunity to proclaim the gospel in Rome (28:20-23). After three month they sailed on another ship and reached Syracuse and then to Puteoli. There they found some believers, who invited them to spend a week with them. By this time Christians believers could be found everywhere in the Roman Empire. Finally Paul reached Rome. When the believers at Rome had heard that Paul was coming, they came to meet him. When Paul saw them, he was encouraged and thanked God for them. Luke was a faithful companion to Paul throughout this journey and imprisonment in Rome (Col 4:14). When Paul reached Rome, he was allowed to stay in a house by himself with soldiers who guarded him. During the two year imprisonment period, Paul was allowed to receive visitors (28:30). Paul was ready to serve Christ always. He looked for opportunity to preach gospel at all time.
Paul’s Ministry at Rome: Acts 28:17-31.
Paul spent two years in a rented house and received visitors. During this time Paul wrote the letters of Ephesians, Colossians, Philemon and Philippians. Three days after his arrival, he called the local Jewish leaders and explained his encounter with Jews back in Jerusalem. He had done nothing against his people. When the Romans tried and found Paul innocent they wanted to set him free but Jews objected it. So he was compelled to appeal to Caesar. They said to Paul “We have received no letter from Judea about you and none spoke evil against you. We want to hear what you believe for we know that, against this sect everywhere spoken”. When they came to hear Paul, he testified of the kingdom of God from morning to evening and tried to persuade them from the scripture that Jesus is the Messiah. Some believed and other did not. After arguing among themselves they left. They are dull of hearing the word of God (28:25-28). Paul reaffirmed his mission to preach the gospel to gentiles. During the two years of waiting for the trial, Paul continued to preach Christ without hindrance (28:31). God’s purpose will always prevail in the end.
Luke ends the book of Acts with an unfinished mission. Paul intended to travel beyond Rome even to Spain (Rom 15:24). His entire life was revolved around the grace of God and the gospel. Jesus is building his church and he is inviting our participation in spreading his message of forgiveness to all people. Paul's epistles reveal Paul’s burden for the churches and his suffering for the gospel (2 Cor 11:23-29). Tradition says that his martyrdom happened in A.D. 68. The resurrection of Jesus is the main subject of the entire book of Acts. Its message is salvation through Jesus Christ. The message of the gospel began to reach the end of the earth and that mission still continues. Let us not be ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus is building his church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. This gives us confidence to continue in our mission to reach the lost world with the gospel until Christ returns. Pray that nothing would stop us from sharing the life giving message of the gospel in the lost and dying world. Hallelujah!