- Acts 27:1-28:31
Around 60 A.D., the time arrived for Paul to be taken to Rome so that he might stand trial before Caesar. A centurion named Julius was given the mission of escorting Paul safely to Rome. Luke and Aristarchus, a Christian from Thessalonica, traveled with Paul. They traveled safely along the first several stops until they reached Fair Havens, near the island of Crete.
It was late in the year by this time. The sailors wanted to press on and reach Phoenix before stopping for winter. Paul warned them that there would be disaster if they pressed on beyond their current point until after winter, when the winter storms had stopped. The centurion listened to the ship’s pilot and owner rather than Paul.
Not far into the journey from Fair Havens, a violent storm came up which lasted for two weeks. The soldiers threw the cargo and tackle overboard and, after days of not seeing the sun or stars, they gave up hope of being saved. The sailors hadn’t eaten in two weeks when Paul stood up and told them to take nourishment. He said that an angel appeared to him the previous night and told him that their lives would all be spared, as long as they stayed with the ship. The angel said that Paul must stand trial before Caesar and GOD had graciously given Paul all of the lives of those on board the ship.
Early the fifteenth morning they ran the ship aground and everyone made it safely to the beach of the island of Malta. The natives there at Malta treated everyone with kindness. They built a fire and, when Paul was preparing to throw a pile of brushwood onto the fire, a poisonous snake called a viper bit him on the hand. The people thought he would die but the snakebite didn’t faze him at all. This is consistent with the words of Jesus, when He said:
17 And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; 18 they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
(Mark 16:17-18 NKJV)
The chief official named Publius welcomed them into his home, where they stayed three days. Publius’ father was sick and Paul healed him. Paul healed the rest of the sick on the island when they heard about this miracle. The Malta citizens provided the sailors the supplies they needed when they got ready to leave, after three months.
When they arrived at Rome, the brethren there met them, having traveled a great distance. There is no indication in Scripture that Paul appeared before Caesar at that time. Instead, he had a rented house where he was under house arrest with a soldier to guard him. His friends were able to visit and care for his needs.
Shortly after his arrival, the Jews gathered to hear Paul preach the gospel of Jesus. Some believed and others didn’t. For two years, Paul stayed there and welcomed everyone who came to see him. He preached the kingdom of GOD from his house without hindrance during these two years.