devotion 9-10-15

Acts 28:11 – 22

Three months later we set sail on a ship that had wintered at the island, an Alexandrian ship with the Twin Brothers as its figurehead. We put in at Syracuse and stayed there for three days; then we weighed anchor and came to Rhegium. After one day there a south wind sprang up, and on the second day we came to Puteoli. There we found believers and were invited to stay with them for seven days. And so we came to Rome. The believers from there, when they heard of us, came as far as the Forum of Appius and Three Taverns to meet us. On seeing them, Paul thanked God and took courage. When we came into Rome, Paul was allowed to live by himself, with the soldier who was guarding him.

Three days later he called together the local leaders of the Jews. When they had assembled, he said to them, “Brothers, though I had done nothing against our people or the customs of our ancestors, yet I was arrested in Jerusalem and handed over to the Romans. When they had examined me, the Romans wanted to release me, because there was no reason for the death penalty in my case. But when the Jews objected, I was compelled to appeal to the emperor—even though I had no charge to bring against my nation. For this reason therefore I have asked to see you and speak with you, since it is for the sake of the hope of Israel that I am bound with this chain.” They replied, “We have received no letters from Judea about you, and none of the brothers coming here has reported or spoken anything evil about you. But we would like to hear from you what you think, for with regard to this sect we know that everywhere it is spoken against.”

After wintering on Malta, they found another ship, this one out of Alexandria, and sailed on their journey. They put in at Syracuse, on the shore of Sicily, and then at Rhegium, at the toe of the “boot” of Italy, then sailed on up the coast of Italy to Puteoli. They stayed for seven nights with believers there, and finally arrived in Rome. Believers from Rome came out to meet them.

One of the first things Paul does when he arrives in Rome (he would have been under house arrest at that time) was to ask the Jewish leaders to meet him. He wants to know if the leaders in Jerusalem have sent word to them that Paul should be persecuted, and prosecuted, in Rome. But they had received no reports about Paul from Jerusalem, and are curious to know more about his thinking regarding what they call “this sect”.

After much trouble, and several years, Paul has at last come to Rome. It was not the way he intended to make the trip. But he has arrived, and already an opportunity has arisen for him to again tell his story. In hard times and good, Paul tells his story, the story of how Christ changed his life.

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