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Acts Chapter 28

Memory verses for this week: Psa 127:2  It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep. 

Introduction:     In Chapter 27, Paul and his fellow crew members faced the horrible storm Euroclydon which threatened the lives of every one aboard the ship.   But the angel of the Lord came to Paul, and he told the captain and the men that all of them would be delivered if they all stayed in the ship.  They did so, and the ship ran aground and came apart as we closed last week.   Those that could swim swam to shore, while those who could not got on boards of the ship and floated in.  All 276 men escaped to the island of Melita.  That is where we pick up this week as we conclude our study on the book of Acts. 

I.   Landing on Melita 

Acts 28:1  And when they were escaped, then they knew that the island was called Melita.

Acts 28:2  And the barbarous people showed us no little kindness: for they kindled a fire, and received us every one, because of the present rain, and because of the cold. 

After Paul and the shipmen get safe to land, they discover that they are on the island of Melita.  The natives of the island were very kind, both to Paul and all those who came ashore.   It says they received every one of them, meaning no distinction was made between the crew, the soldiers, or the prisoners.  We as Christians are commanded to accept all kinds of men and women into the church and to treat each one with respect.   Sometimes visitors may not act or look like we do, but we should be courteous to all that they might have the opportunity to hear about the Lord.  It is amazing how that the people with some of the wildest backgrounds can be totally changed when Jesus saves their soul.   Paul is a good example of a man who literally went out and bound Christians to be put to death before he was saved, but after meeting Christ on the Damascus road, he was never the same.    

James 2:1  My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons.

James 2:2  For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment;

James 2:3  And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool:

James 2:4  Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts?

James 2:5  Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?

James 2:6  But ye have despised the poor. Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats?

James 2:7  Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by the which ye are called?

James 2:8  If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well:

James 2:9  But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors. 

Acts 28:3  And when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks, and laid them on the fire, there came a viper out of the heat, and fastened on his hand.

Acts 28:4  And when the barbarians saw the venomous beast hang on his hand, they said among themselves, No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he hath escaped the sea, yet vengeance suffereth not to live.

Acts 28:5  And he shook off the beast into the fire, and felt no harm. 

You never know what you are going to encounter when you are out in the wilderness.  While all the people were taking care of the ship’s crew, Paul made use of his time by finding some firewood.  Paul reaches to gather some wood to put on the fire, and a viper came out and fastened on to his hand.  When the people of the island see this deadly viper bite Paul, they became very superstitious.   We need to never jump to conclusions that bad things only happen to bad people.  That is far from true as we know that Paul was a man being protected by God and right in the will of the Lord at this time.   God gives us many trials and testings in life, and we need to accept them and not question all that befalls us.   We see here that they decide that Paul is a murderer who was not going to be allowed to live.  It is not our place to judge others or to retaliate when we are wronged.   As a Christian, we are to wait and look to the Lord for righteous judgement. 

Rom 12:19  Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.

Rom 12:20  Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.

Rom 12:21  Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good. 

Acts 28:6  Howbeit they looked when he should have swollen, or fallen down dead suddenly: but after they had looked a great while, and saw no harm come to him, they changed their minds, and said that he was a god. 

The people had thought Paul was fortunate to have lived through the shipwreck, but felt certain death was coming to him now for some wrong he had done earlier.  When Paul is not affected by the bite of the viper, they now go 180 degrees in the opposite direction and jump to the conclusion that Paul is a god.  Calm heads and minds are important when using reasoning about the affairs of men.  We should ever be discerning, but not quick to judge.   God wants us to be good people and to live righteously, and this takes discernment.   But when it comes to others, we should not be quick to judge, neither good nor bad. 

Mat 7:1  Judge not, that ye be not judged.

Mat 7:2  For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.

Mat 7:3  And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

Mat 7:4  Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?

Mat 7:5  Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye. 

J. Vernon McGee  in his commentary on Acts said that he considered this act of Paul being bitten and not affected a fulfillment of prophecy over in Mark 16:18.  We know many of the prophecies concerning the early years of the church were limited to the apostolic era, and I certainly agree that this was one of those special gifts given only during the early years of the church to a select few disciples.   

Mark 16:18  They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. 

This is what J. Vernon McGee had to say: 

“The promise of God in Mark 16:18 was fulfilled in Paul’s experience.  He suffered no ill effects from the venom.  When folk today deliberately pick up snakes and claim that promise as their protection, they are far afield from what God had in mind.  When they saw that no harm came to Paul, they decided that he certainly could not be a criminal but was instead a god.  Although they were equally as wrong in this judgment, it did give Paul a very important contact on the island of Melita.” 

II.  Miracle of the Healing of Publius’ Father 

Acts 28:7  In the same quarters were possessions of the chief man of the island, whose name was Publius; who received us, and lodged us three days courteously.

Acts 28:8  And it came to pass, that the father of Publius lay sick of a fever and of a bloody flux: to whom Paul entered in, and prayed, and laid his hands on him, and healed him.

Acts 28:9  So when this was done, others also, which had diseases in the island, came, and were healed:

Acts 28:10  Who also honoured us with many honours; and when we departed, they laded us with such things as were necessary. 

The head man of the island, Publius, had Paul and his company stay with him for three days.  The man treated them with respect and was very courteous to them.  During this time, Paul went in to the father of Publius and healed him by the laying on of his hands.   As I mentioned about the snakes earlier, some special gifts were available to the apostles during the early years of the church that we do not still have available to us today.  When this man was healed, it was similar to the time when Jesus was with the people there in Jerusalem.   Others heard of this healing, and they brought all manner of sick people to Paul and he healed them.   What a joy it would be for us to have that power today.   But the same God that healed those that were diseased is on the throne today, and when we come believing in prayer, people can still be healed today if it is the Lord’s Will. 

Mark 11:22  And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God.

Mark 11:23  For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.

Mark 11:24  Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. 

The key element in this verse is that we are to have faith in God, and then believe that we will receive the answer to our prayers. 

Acts 28:11  And after three months we departed in a ship of Alexandria, which had wintered in the isle, whose sign was Castor and Pollux.

Acts 28:12  And landing at Syracuse, we tarried there three days.

Acts 28:13  And from thence we fetched a compass, and came to Rhegium: and after one day the south wind blew, and we came the next day to Puteoli: 

After three months, they find another ship that had wintered in the island, and they board it and go to Syracuse where they stayed three days before going to Rhegium and Puteoli.   As mentioned earlier, the travel in Paul’s day was slow as you had to find a ship going to the destination you wanted to reach.   And there was no set schedule as we would think of it today.

Acts 28:14  Where we found brethren, and were desired to tarry with them seven days: and so we went toward Rome.

Acts 28:15  And from thence, when the brethren heard of us, they came to meet us as far as Appii forum, and The three taverns: whom when Paul saw, he thanked God, and took courage.


It says that they found some Christian brethren there and stayed with them seven days.  It is always good to be around fellow Christian brothers and sisters, and we should always exhort and encourage one another in our walk for the Lord.   Verse 15 indicates that the Christians there greatly encouraged Paul and he thanked God for them.   Together, we are strong as a church.   The devil does not want us to come together and be uplifted by praises of song to God and to hear the Word of God taught and preached.   But when we do, it both glorifies God and strengthens our faith. 

III.  Paul Arrives at Rome 

Acts 28:16  And when we came to Rome, the centurion delivered the prisoners to the captain of the guard: but Paul was suffered to dwell by himself with a soldier that kept him. 

Paul desired to by himself once he arrived there in Rome.  It had been a long and hard journey, but the Lord had promised Paul that he would one day witness of Christ in Rome.  So Paul is to himself here with a soldier that kept watch on him.  I’m sure that all the soldiers that had the opportunity to watch over Paul got to hear about the Lord Jesus Christ.   Some of the greatest books that Paul penned were done while he was in prison.  No doubt the great lesson he taught on the armour of God in Ephesians was inspired by Paul viewing those Roman soldiers day after day.   We know Paul was bound in prison, but the Word of God was not bound.   We need to realize that whatever our situation, we have the opportunity and need to tell others about the Lord Jesus Christ. 

2 Cor 4:1  Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not;

2 Cor 4:2  But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God.

2 Cor 4:3  But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:

2 Cor 4:4  In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

2 Cor 4:5  For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake.

2 Cor 4:6  For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 


III.            Paul’s Ministry while in Rome 

Acts 28:17  And it came to pass, that after three days Paul called the chief of the Jews together: and when they were come together, he said unto them, Men and brethren, though I have committed nothing against the people, or customs of our fathers, yet was I delivered prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans.

Acts 28:18  Who, when they had examined me, would have let me go, because there was no cause of death in me.

Acts 28:19  But when the Jews spake against it, I was constrained to appeal unto Caesar; not that I had ought to accuse my nation of.

Acts 28:20  For this cause therefore have I called for you, to see you, and to speak with you: because that for the hope of Israel I am bound with this chain. 

Apparently, Paul had freedom to some extent while being in prison.  And it only takes Paul a few days to call together the chief of the Jews to tell them what had happened to him and why he was there in prison.    It was for the hope of Israel that Paul was bound. 


Acts 26:6  And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers:

Acts 26:7  Unto which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope to come. For which hope's sake, king Agrippa, I am accused of the Jews. 

Acts 28:21  And they said unto him, We neither received letters out of Judaea concerning thee, neither any of the brethren that came showed or spake any harm of thee.

Acts 28:22  But we desire to hear of thee what thou thinkest: for as concerning this sect, we know that every where it is spoken against.

Acts 28:23  And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into his lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening.

Acts 28:24  And some believed the things which were spoken, and some believed not. 

The people there in Rome did not know about the charges made against Paul in Judea.  They expressed a desire to hear Paul concerning this “sect” as they called it.  They said that every where this sect was spoken against.   

Luke 2:34  And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; 

Paul used the law and prophets to prove that Jesus was the promised the Messiah and he preached from morning until evening.   And the results were that many believed on Jesus Christ, while some rejected the truth.


IV.            Paul Turns to the Gentiles 

Acts 28:25  And when they agreed not among themselves, they departed, after that Paul had spoken one word, Well spake the Holy Ghost by Esaias the prophet unto our fathers,

Acts 28:26  Saying, Go unto this people, and say, Hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive:

Acts 28:27  For the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. 

Paul quotes Isaiah the prophet to try and make them understand the truth. 

Isa 6:10  Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed.

Isa 6:11  Then said I, Lord, how long? And he answered, Until the cities be wasted without inhabitant, and the houses without man, and the land be utterly desolate,


Acts 28:28  Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it.

Acts 28:29  And when he had said these words, the Jews departed, and had great reasoning among themselves.

Acts 28:30  And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him,

Acts 28:31  Preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man forbidding him.


Paul declared that salvation was being sent unto the Gentiles and they will hear while most of the Jews reject the message.    The Jews departed and reasoned among themselves.  Paul had the great privilege of preaching two years there in Rome about the “Kingdom of God.” 

John 3:3  Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

John 3:4  Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?

John 3:5  Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

John 3:6  That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

John 3:7  Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.


Acts 4:15  But when they had commanded them to go aside out of the council, they conferred among themselves,

Acts 4:16  Saying, What shall we do to these men? for that indeed a notable miracle hath been done by them is manifest to all them that dwell in Jerusalem; and we cannot deny it.

Acts 4:17  But that it spread no further among the people, let us straitly threaten them, that they speak henceforth to no man in this name.

Acts 4:18  And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.

Acts 4:19  But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye.

Acts 4:20  For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.


Many try to stop the gospel from going forth, but true Christians like Paul, Peter, and John would not be silenced.   I praise God for those who have that kind of faith, and persevere no matter what comes.    Next week, we will begin a new study in the book of Romans.


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Prov 4:18  But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.


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