Acts 28 Malta and Rome

Tod Kennedy, January 27, 2001

Main Points of Application or So What? From Acts 28

  1. We should strive for spiritual maturity so that we, like Paul, gain the ability to handle prosperity and adversity. We only reach it by spiritual growth. Paul was a prisoner, shipwrecked, poisoned, and hailed as a god. He handled each with grace so that God was honored (Acts 28.1-6).
  2. Concentrate on acts of kindness like Paul did. Kindness gains more for the gospel and for oneself than selfishness, pride, and unkindness (Acts 28.7-10).
  3. Believers ought to encourage other believers, especially those who find themselves in unfamiliar places (Acts 28.11-16).
  4. Try to persuade people to believe the gospel. First, you may have to answer their questions. Be clear, gracious, biblical, and accurate (Acts 28.22-23).
  5. Be ready and willing to present the gospel to anyone who might listen (Acts 28.30-31).
  6. Make the most of the time, place, and people that God has given to you. They are a gift of service that you can exploit for blessing to yourself and to others (Acts 28.30-31).

Summary Outline

  1. Acts 28.1-6. At Myra in Lycia, Paul had been transferred to an Alexandrian ship that would take him to Rome  (Malta and Rome27.6). The last two weeks of the voyage (27.33) found the ship and passengers caught in an overwhelming storm. God protected them all and drove the ship west to Malta, an island just south of Sicily. As they approached the island, the ship was caught on rocks, and the storm broke the ship apart (27.41). Paul’s centurion guard had high regard for Paul because of Paul’s spiritual maturity (27.21-25, 31-32, 33). Therefore the centurion protected him and the other prisoners from the other soldiers, who wanted to kill the prisoners.  All on board were allowed to try to get to land; all succeeded (27.44). The natives of Malta showed great kindness to the crew and passengers. While Paul was gathering firewood, a poisonous snake struck his hand. The natives at first thought the gods were punishing Paul. Then when Paul did not die, they said he was a god. Of course, God had protected Paul; he had a job for him in Rome. Neither the condemnation nor the praise affected Paul. He continued to live the Christian life: in the word, by the Spirit, and by faith. Paul’s spiritual growth and maturity showed.
  2. Acts 28.7-10. Publius was an official of Malta. He had an estate nearby to which he invited the shipwrecked party. God had arranged that Paul would have a ministry to Publius, his father, and to many others on the island. Publius’ father was ill—likely with Malta fever, a gastro-intestinal disease. Paul healed him through his temporary spiritual gift of healing (ijavomai iaomai aorist middle indicative, third singular, to heal, 1 Corinthians 12.9). Naturally, many other sick people then came to Paul, and he healed them. It is interesting that the Roman soldiers allowed Paul to minister. His testimony had gained him this privilege.
  3. Acts 28:11-15. After three months they set sail on another Alexandrian ship to Syracuse, Rhegium, and then to Puteoli. At Puteoli some believers invited Paul to stay for a week. Paul then traveled north to Rome on the Appian Way. News of his coming to Rome had preceded him. A group of believers went south from Rome and met him at Three Taverns, thirty-three miles from Rome; others went ten miles farther and met him at Appii Forum. These believers and their interest in Paul greatly encouraged him. Time after time believers who find themselves rejected or imprisoned or beaten up or ridiculed or alone or venturing into new service have been encouraged by other believers through a letter or a call or a visit or some other sign of support. Paul, in 1 Thessalonians 5.11, tells us to encourage each other.
  4. Acts 28.16-22. Three days after Paul reached Rome, he invited the Jewish leaders, unbelievers, to meet with him. He did not know what rumors or accusations may have preceded him and wanted to set the record straight about his ministry, arrest, and imprisonment. The Jewish leaders replied that they had not received letters or personal reports that criticized Paul. These men wanted to learn from Paul about this new faith, the Christian faith. They were quite aware that Christianity was widely criticized and attacked.
  5. Acts 28.23-29. Paul used the Hebrew Scriptures to explain and testify and persuade the Jews that Jesus was the promised Messiah, the one who offered the kingdom of God to them. Some believed Paul, but most did what Isaiah had predicted in Isaiah 6.9-10: they rejected the message and left. Paul quoted the Isaiah passage to them and then told them that the Gentiles would listen. Paul had given the Jews every chance to receive their Messiah, but they would not. Paul gave his best shot—their own Scriptures—, yet they would not accept the biblical message. Many times we will find the same response. This should not discourage us from continuing to explain and testify and persuade people to receive Jesus Christ.
  6. Acts 28.30-31. Once Paul had given the Jews a clear opportunity to receive their messiah and they had refused, he settled in and concentrated on proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about Jesus Christ to whomever came to him. Note Paul’s emphasis: proclaiming and teaching. Paul was content with his ministry. He gave his attention to those whom God sent his way. These two years were a time of wonderful ministry for Paul. During this arrest he wrote the four prison epistles: Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon. Paul made the most of the time, place, and people that God had given him. We should follow his example.

Dictionary of Bible Doctrine

  1. Apologetics
  2. Encouragement
  3. Ministry
  4. One day at a time
  5. Spiritual contentment.
  6. Spiritual Growth
  7. Spiritual Maturity
  8. Temporary Spiritual Gifts
  9. Witnessing