16 July Acts 28:11-31

16 July. Paul finishes his journey to Rome

"[In the spring] we got on a [grain] ship from Alexandria that had stayed on the island [of Malta] during the winter. On the front of the ship was the sign of the twin [Roman] gods [Castor and Pollux]."

"We stopped at Syracuse [in Sicily] for three days [see 7 on the map on 7 July]. From there we sailed to Rhegium. The next day a wind began to blow from the south, and a day later we came to Puteoli. We found some believers there who asked us to stay with them for a week."

"Finally, we came to Rome. The believers in Rome heard that we were there and came out as far as the Market of Appius [Appi Forum] and the Three Inns [Three Taverns] to meet us. When Paul saw them, he was encouraged and thanked God."

"When we arrived at Rome, Paul was allowed to live alone, with the soldier who guarded him."

"Three days later, Paul sent for the Jewish leaders there. When they came together, he said, 'Brothers, I have done nothing against our people or the customs of our ancestors. But I was arrested in Jerusalem and given to the Romans."

"After they [the Romans] asked me many questions, they could find no reason why I should be killed. They wanted to let me go free, but the Jewish people there argued against that. so I had to ask to come to Rome to have my trial before Caesar [Emperor Nero]… I am bound with this chain because I believe in the hope of Israel."

"They answered Paul, '...None of our Jewish brothers who have come from there brought news or told us anything bad about you. But we want to hear your ideas, because we know that people everywhere are speaking against this religious group.'"

"Paul and the Jewish people chose a day for a meeting and on that day many more of the Jews met with Paul at the place he was staying.... Using the law of Moses and the prophets' writings, he explained the kingdom of God, and he tried to persuade them to believe these things about Jesus."

"Some believed what Paul said, but others did not. So they argued and began leaving after Paul said one more thing to them, 'The Holy Spirit spoke the truth to your ancestors through Isaiah the prophet saying. "Go and tell this people: You will listen and listen, but you will not understand. You will look and look, but you will not learn..." [Isaiah 6:9-10].'"

"'I want you to know that God has also sent his salvation to those who are not Jewish, and they will listen!'"

"Paul stayed two full years in his own rented house and welcomed all people who came to visit him. He boldly preached about the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ, and no one tried to stop him."

          (Acts 28:11-31)

 

 

When spring heralded the start of the new sailing season, Paul and his companions set off again for Rome on another Alexandrian grain ship that had spent the winter at Malta. The Roman ship’s prow was adorned with a figurehead of the twin gods Castor and Pollux (the remains of whose temple - see the photo - can still be visited at the Forum in Rome).

They soon reached Sicily where they anchored at Syracuse (modern-day Siracusa) for three days (see 7 on the map). During his brief stay, Paul no doubt saw the ancient Greek theatre, newly adapted by the Romans for gladiatorial festivals and the Temple to Athena on Ortygia Island, built in the 5th century BC, whose Doric columns now form part of the cathedral.

They then moved on to Rhegium (Reggio di Calabria) and sailed through the Straits of Messina on route to Puteoli (Pozzuoli) in the Bay of Naples, where Paul and his companions disembarked and stayed with fellow believers for a week.

The grain ship on which Paul arrived probably sailed north and completed its voyage at Ostia, Rome’s port at the mouth of the River Tiber.

From Puteoli (see 7 on the map), Paul travelled by foot along the Via Domitiana to Formia and along the Via Appia (the ‘Appian Way’) through Terracina to Rome. He was met along the way by believers from Rome at Appi Forum (a 'mansio' or official stopping place for Roman officials, near Faiti) and at Three Taverns (modern-day Cisterna) on the Appian Way.

Paul reached Rome in the spring of 60AD and was kept under loose house arrest awaiting trial by the emperor Nero. Three days after his arrival he met with the Jewish community in Rome and shared the Good News about Jesus with them. Some believed, but others were unconvinced.

Paul rented a house in Rome for two years (60-62AD) and had considerable freedom to preach and teach about the Lord Jesus Christ.

While under house arrest, Paul wrote letters to the churches in Ephesus and Philippi that he'd established on his earlier journeys, and he also wrote to the church planted by Epaphrus at Colossae.

In addition to Luke (who wrote Luke’s Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles while staying with Paul in 60-62AD), Paul’s companions in Rome included Timothy (see Colossians 1:1, Philippians 1:1 & 2:19-23), Aristarchus (see Acts 20:4 & 27:2), Epaphrus (see Colossians 1:7), Joshua Justus, Demas and John Mark.

Paul had been reconciled with John Mark since he'd refused to take him on his Second Missionary Journey in 50AD (see Acts 15:37-38, Colossians 4:10-14 7 Philemon 1:23). Mark probably wrote his gospel in Rome around the same time as Luke was writing his, so it's hardly surprising that parts of their accounts are almost identical.

The photo shows the temple of Castor and Pollux in Rome (on the right).

You can read more about Rome in Paul's day @ https://www.thebiblejourney.org/…/12-p…/paul-heads-for-rome/.


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