Truly the gospel of God cannot be stopped! In Acts 27, the ship that was transferring Paul to Rome was wrecked, but thanks to God’s grace, none of those aboard died. Here in the final chapter of Acts, we learn that the island on which they were shipwrecked was Malta. Conditions were horrible – that is, until the friendly islanders built a beach fire to warm the survivours.
But then Paul is bitten by a snake as he adds fuel to the fire. Is this to be the end of God’s promise to Paul that he would go to Rome? The islanders assume that he must be a murderer who cheated justice by escaping the sea, but who would now face her wrath.
But Paul doesn’t die. The islanders, Luke tells us, eventually conclude that he must be a god. The truth, as we know it, is far greater: he is the servant of the living God who has a specific purpose in mind for Paul.
And so, in this the last chapter of Acts, we find Paul finally finishing the long and arduous journey from Jerusalem via Caesarea to Rome. There he is met by fellow Christians. There too he has the opportunity to defend himself before the Jews of that city. Some of them become followers of Jesus, persuaded by Paul’s argument and testimony. Others refused to follow the Messiah.
Paul’s final words fit well at the end of Acts. Since the Jewish people refuse to accept God’s salvation, God is also offering it to the Gentiles. The message that began in Jerusalem for the Jews first is now on offer to all (and then the Gentiles). And in Rome, Paul is able to persue his teaching for at least 2 years without opposition.
Thank you Father that you are 100% to be trusted. Thank you that all of the promises that you make are true and trustworthy. Thank you again that nothing can separate me from your love in Christ Jesus. And nothing can stop your promises to me coming true: not myself, not the forces of nature, not the vagaries of man. You are absolutely, completely faithful. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Please help me to trust and follow you more and more and more.