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We arrive in Chapter 28 at the end of this marvelous book of the Acts of the Apostles. But while it brings to fruition the promise of gospel expansion set forth in Acts 1:8 “from Jerusalem to Judea to Samaria and to the ends of the earth,” it serves as the launching point for the untold story of how God continues to this day to bless and promote the victorious expansion of the Gospel. Jesus promised that He would build His church and would be successful against all opposition.





A. (:1-2) Taking Shelter At Malta

1. (:1) Getting Their Bearings

“And when they had been brought safely through, then we found out that the island was called Malta.”

What a relief for all of them to be safely onshore and not under attack by the local natives; it was a rough ride but God proved himself faithful to his promise to bring Paul to Rome;

They had some familiarity with Malta

Bock: The island’s ancient name means “refuge”

It is about 60 miles off the south tip of Sicily.

MacArthur: The word “barboroi” in the Greek was a word the Greeks used to refer to anybody who spoke a language foreign to them and did not speak Greek. All it means is they were natives of Malta who spoke a foreign language.

2. (:2) Receiving Hospitality

“And the natives showed us extraordinary kindness; for because of the rain that had set in and because of the cold, they kindled a fire and received us all.”

Tremendous demonstration of hospitality

[cf. importance of lighting a fire on TV show Survivor]

MacArthur: Hospitality is to be the characteristic of a godly man, according to First Timothy and Titus; the characteristic of an elder, a leader in the church. But beyond that, hospitality is to be characteristic of all Christians, according to First Peter 4:9. (Matt. 10:40; Rom. 12:13)

B. (:3-6) Targeted by Extreme Native Superstition

1. (:3) Encounter with the Snake

“But when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and laid them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat, and fastened on his hand.”

Once again Paul is helpful and involved in the necessary practical tasks of day-to-day living; not functioning as some privileged elite that demands service from others

Looks like Paul just can’t catch a break

2. (:4) Initial Expression of Extreme Native Superstition = Paul is Cursed

“And when the natives saw the creature hanging from his hand, they began saying to one another, ‘Undoubtedly this man is a murderer, and though he has been saved from the sea, justice has not allowed him to live.’”

Be careful how you jump to conclusions about natural events – we don’t see the whole picture; don’t be judgmental and quick to condemn

Look at how many Christians live like these pagans … imagining that bad things happen to them because they did X

3. (:5-6) Opposite Expression of Extreme Native Superstition = Paul is a God

“However he shook the creature off into the fire and suffered no harm. But they were expecting that he was about to swell up or suddenly fall down dead. But after they had waited a long time and had seen nothing unusual happen to him, they changed their minds and began to say that he was a god.”

The incident was not treated as any big deal by Paul

Be careful on the other extreme not to give someone too much credit; you need a right view of God and the gospel in order to be able to have a balanced view towards life

Kent: Luke has previously recorded a similar change of opinion in reverse (14:11-12, 19), a reminder of the fickleness of human opinion whether good or bad.

Scott Harris: The perversion to this truth is the idea that whenever something bad happens to someone it is because God is punishing them for doing something evil along with its corollary that if things are going well then they have done something good and God is blessing them. The book of Job demonstrates the lie to the first part of this idea and Psalm 73 exposes the lie of the second part. Bad things do happen to good people and good things happen to bad people. There are very godly people that suffer greatly in this life and there are evil people that seem to get away with everything and live in luxury and ease. But like Asaph in Psalm 73 we must remember that what happens in this life is not the final accounting for either punishment or reward.




A. (:7) Hospitality of Publius

“Now in the neighborhood of that place were lands belonging to the leading man of the island, named Publius, who welcomed us and entertained us courteously three days.”

B. (:8) Healing of Publius’ Father by Paul

“And it came about that the father of Publius was lying in bed afflicted with recurrent fever and dysentery; and Paul went in to see him and after he had prayed, he laid his hands on him and healed him.”

MacArthur: He did two things. He prayed and he laid his hands on him. Why did he pray? Because all power is from whom? God. Why did he lay his hands on him? Because he wanted him to see that it was through him that God moved in power; that it was the power of God but that Paul was the agent or the representative of that power. What Paul was doing by praying and laying hands on was identifying God’s power and the fact that he was God’s agent.

Scott Harris: The particular medical problem Publius’ father was suffering was Brucellosis. It is also known as Malta fever, Mediterranean fever, Gibraltar fever, Cyprus fever, Rock fever, Undulating fever and Bang’s disease. It is caused by any one of several species of the Brucella bacteria and is common in farm animals such as cattle, pigs and goats. In humans it causes intermittent fevers, cold sweats, weakness, muscle aches and can resemble typhoid. It can persist for months and can lead to death. The most common means of humans being affected is through raw milk. Pasteurization is now the main preventive measure and antibiotics are used to treat those infected. The fact that this man also had dysentery indicates he had some other medical problems as well.

C. (:9) Healing Ministry of Paul Expanded

“And after this had happened, the rest of the people on the island who had diseases were coming to him and getting cured.”

Michael Crawford: would be great if the church became known as a place of healing; too often we have the museum model of church (where we are curators of exhibits that people come to see) rather than the hospital model – where people come to be healed

D. (:10) Honoring of Apostle Paul

“And they also honored us with many marks of respect; and when we were setting sail, they supplied us with all we needed.”



A. (:11-12) Short Stop at Syracuse

1. (:11) Voyage on Alexandrian Ship

“And at the end of three months we set sail on an Alexandrian ship which had wintered at the island, and which had the Twin Brothers for its figurehead.”

Kent: The ship bore the figurehead of the Twin Brothers, Castor and Pollux. These mythological figures were revered by sailors, and their constellation Gemini was supposed to bring good luck in a storm.

Bock: Castor was said to be an excellent horseman, and Pollux could box.

2. (:12) Respite at Syracuse

“And after we put in at Syracuse, we stayed there for three days.”

B. (:13-14) Remainder of Journey to Rome

1. (:13a) Arrival at Rhegium

“And from there we sailed around and arrived at Rhegium,”

2. (:13b-14a) Arrival and Hospitality at Puteoli

“and a day later a south wind sprang up, and on the second day we came to Puteoli. There we found some brethren, and were invited to stay with them for seven days;”

3. (:14) Arrival at Rome

“and thus we came to Rome.”

Bock: The trip from Malta has taken three weeks. The total journey has taken well over four months. God’s word has come to pass.

C. (:15-16) Under Guard at Rome

1. (:15a) Reception by the Brethren

“And the brethren, when they heard about us, came from there as far as the Market of Appius and Three Inns to meet us;”

Bruce: A few miles’ journey from Puteoli brought them on to the Appian Way, one of the great Roman roads of south Italy, called after Appius Claudius, in whose censorship it was planned (312 B.C.). Along this road they made for Rome. But news of their approach had reached the capital already, and a number of Christians set out southwards along the Appian Way to meet the apostle and escort him back to Rome. Some of them got as far as The Three Taverns, a halting-place on the Appian Way about thirty-three miles from Rome; others walked ten miles farther and met him at the market-town of Appii Forum.

2. (:15b) Response of Paul of Thanksgiving and Encouragement

“and when Paul saw them, he thanked God and took courage.”

3. (:16) Rules of House Arrest in Rome

“And when we entered Rome, Paul was allowed to stay by himself, with the soldier who was guarding him.”



A. (:17-24) Final Appeal to the Jewish Leaders

“And it happened that after three days he called together those who were the leading men of the Jews, and when they had come together, he began saying to them,”

You might think that Paul would not want to see the Jews anymore; but had such great love for them; wanted to testify to Jesus being the fulfillment of the hope of Israel

1. (:17b-20) Reviewing the Facts of His Case

“Brethren, though I had done nothing against our people, or the customs of our fathers, yet I was delivered prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans. And when they had examined me, they were willing to release me because there was no ground for putting me to death. But when the Jews objected, I was forced to appeal to Caesar; not that I had any accusation against my nation. For this reason therefore, I requested to see you and to speak with you, for I am wearing this chain for the sake of the hope of Israel.”

Alexander: Paul’s address presented two points to his Jewish hearers; his motive in appealing to the Emperor (v. 17-19), and his firm adherence to the ancient doctrine (v. 20).

2. (:21-22) Reality of Negative Press Regarding Christian Sect Stirs Curiosity

“And they said to him, ‘We have neither received letters from Judea concerning you, nor have any of the brethren come here and reported or spoken anything bad about you. But we desire to hear from you what your views are; for concerning this sect, it is known to us that it is spoken against everywhere.’”

3. (:23) Reasoning with Them Regarding the Claims of Christ

“And when they had set a day for him, they came to him at his lodging in large numbers; and he was explaining to them by solemnly testifying about the kingdom of God, and trying to persuade them concerning Jesus, from both the Law of Moses and from the Prophets, from morning until evening.”

Stott: This is likely to mean, as on previous occasions when he addressed Jewish people, that Paul argued for the necessary identification of the historical Jesus with the biblical Christ.

4. (:24) Reaction Mixed

“And some were being persuaded by the things spoken, but others would not believe.”

B. (:25-29) Final Rejection of the Gospel by the Jewish Leaders

1. (:25a) Began Leaving

“And when they did not agree with one another, they began leaving after Paul had spoken one parting word,”

2. (:25b-28) Prophetic Indictment

“The Holy Spirit rightly spoke through Isaiah the prophet to your fathers, saying,

‘Go to this people and say, You will keep on hearing, but will not understand; And you will keep on seeing, but will not perceive; For the heart of this people has become dull, And with their ears they scarcely hear, And they have closed their eyes; Lest they should see with their eyes, And hear with their ears, And understand with their heart and return, And I should heal them.’

Let it be known to you therefore, that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will also listen.”

Steven Cole: Hardness of heart prevents sinners from responding in faith to the gospel, but it never thwarts God’s ultimate purpose. There is a mystery here, in that sinners are always responsible for their stubbornness and unbelief, but if they turn in repentance and faith to the Lord, it is not their doing, but only because He has granted it to them (Acts 11:18). In other words, we are solely responsible for our unbelief, but if we come to faith in Christ, it is solely from God, so that none can boast.

3. (:29) Finished Leaving

“And when he had spoken these words, the Jews departed, having a great dispute among themselves.”

C. (:30-31) Final Open Proclamation of the Gospel to All in Rome — Not Hindered by House Arrest

“And he stayed two full years in his own rented quarters, and was welcoming all who came to him, preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with all openness, unhindered.”

Bruce: On this triumphant note, then, Acts is brought to an end. The kingdom of God and the story of Jesus are openly proclaimed and taught in Rome itself, under the complacent eye of imperial authority.

Alexander: It ends where it does, for no such personal or trivial reason, but because the writer’s purpose is accomplished and his task performed. As soon as he has traced the course of Christ and Christianity from the Holy City to the Mistress of the World, he has already shown the virtual fulfillment of the promise and the plan with which the history begins – 1:8.

Kent: During this time Paul wrote four of the NT epistles: Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon.

Blaiklock: The delay was due to the necessity for accusers to appear from Palestine, and for the hearing to find a place on Caesar’s calendar. It is not unlikely that the case lapsed for want of accusation. . . The book ends abruptly . . . The work continues, and if the Acts of the Apostles ends by the Tiber, the acts of God through the dedicated lives of men found, and still find, a stage far wider in place and time.

Michael Crawford: Sometimes our message is too small; kingdom of God is all encompassing message; look at how despite all opposition, the book ends with the gospel being proclaimed in unhindered fashion; nothing can defeat God’s purposes.