Scripture Study: Acts 28

Acts 28  •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 7
They had landed on the island of Melita, and God laid it on the hearts of the uncivilized inhabitants to show them kindness, and this they did liberally. They kindled a fire, and received every one of them because of the rain that was falling, and because of the cold.
Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and laid them on the fire, and a viper came out of the heat and fastened on his hand. The barbarians saw it, and said among themselves, “No doubt, this man is a murderer, whom, though he hath escaped the sea, yet Nemesis, the god of vengeance, suffereth not to live.” They watched him for a while, expecting that he would suddenly drop dead, but as nothing unusual happened, they changed their minds, and said that he was a god.
In the same quarters, Publius, the chief man of the island, had possessions. His father was sick with fever. Paul went in and prayed and laid his hands on him, and healed him. Others also on the island, who had diseases, came and were healed. These honored Paul and his companions with many honors; and when they departed, they loaded them with such things as were necessary.
We are not told of any evangelizing on the journey. After three months, when the winter was gone; a ship lying there took them to Puteoli, where they found brethren, and were asked to tarry with them seven days. This was another green spot in the desert world!
Then they journeyed toward Rome. At Appii forum, and The Three Taverns, the brethren from Rome came to meet them, and this cheered the heart of Paul somewhat. He knew what awaited him in every city, for was he not going to bear testimony to, a rejected Lord, whose prisoner he afterward called himself? The Lord knows how to strengthen and to help His dear servants in the hour of trial.
It was not the time yet for his trial before Augustus Caesar. The testimony of Paul, the prisoner, must go forth; and God prepares the place and the people, and gives Paul exceptional privileges to have his own hired house with a soldier as his guard. After three days he called the chief men among the Jews together, and told them how he had been falsely accused, and that he was wearing the prisoner’s chain for the hope of Israel. They were willing to hear of this sect that was everywhere spoken against, so, on the day appointed, many came to him into his lodging, to whom he expounded, and testified the kingdom of God, out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets all the day long. But a suffering, and rejected Messiah was not the kind of king they wanted. So some believed and some believed not. A king that would give them Palestine, and prosperity, and peace on the earth, would suit them, but the Man in the glory, calling out the Church as His body and His bride did not suit them. Things new as well as old, He had to tell them (Matt. 13:5252Then said he unto them, Therefore every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old. (Matthew 13:52)), but they would not hear. It was earth they wanted, not heaven.
Paul therefore, before they left, quoted to them part of Isa. 6, “Well spake Isaias the prophet by the Holy Ghost to our fathers, saying, ‘Go unto this people, and say, Hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive: For the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.’ Be it known therefore, unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and they will hear it.” (See Isa. 6:9, 109And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. 10Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed. (Isaiah 6:9‑10); Matt. 13:14, 1514And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: 15For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. (Matthew 13:14‑15)). The long suffering of God is over for the present to the nation of Israel, till the Church is completed. Israel is now not the people of God. Those of them who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ now, are brought in on the ground of mercy to all, for He hath concluded all in unbelief, that He might have mercy on them all. (Rom. 11:3232For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all. (Romans 11:32)). Now the gospel goes out freely to the Gentiles.
Having thus declared the truth to them, they departed with great reasonings among themselves. Paul was allowed to go on bearing his testimony for two whole years, yet as a prisoner. The Word of God does not tell us of an apostle ever being sent there. God has no “See”; no ecclesiastical center on earth.
Christianity dates from a glorified, earth rejected Christ in heaven. Here ends the history of the acts of the Holy Ghost through the apostles.
Paul, from the prison, wrote the Epistles—Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and Philemon—a rich feast for the soul, taught of God by them.