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1When they had been brought safely through, then we found out that the island was called Malta. 2The natives showed us extraordinary kindness; for because of the rain that had set in and because of the cold, they kindled a fire and received us all.
7Now in the neighborhood of that place were lands belonging to the leading man of the island, named Publius, who welcomed us and entertained us courteously three days. 8And it happened that the father of Publius was lying in bed afflicted with recurrent fever and dysentery; and Paul went in to see him and after he had prayed, he laid his hands on him and healed him. 9After this had happened, the rest of the people on the island who had diseases were coming to him and getting cured. 10They also honored us with many marks of respect; and when we were setting sail, they supplied us with all we needed.NOTE Paul didn't set out to participate in a healing that day on that island. However, God had one of his children on the island (Paul) and put His purpose for the father of Publius into action, using Paul. God again had set up another divine appointment. Paul showed up with an attitude of "What can I do to help?" When a follower of Jesus shows up with this kind of servant-heart attitude, God will do miraculous things.
11At the end of three months we set sail on an Alexandrian ship which had wintered at the island, and which had the Twin Brothers for its figurehead. 14There we found some brethren, and were invited to stay with them for seven days; and thus we came to Rome. 15And the brethren, when they heard about us, came from there as far as the Market of Appius and Three Inns to meet us; and when Paul saw them, he thanked God and took courage. 16When we entered Rome, Paul was allowed to stay by himself, with the soldier who was guarding him.
17After three days Paul called together those who were the leading men of the Jews, and when they came together, he began saying to them, "Brethren, though I had done nothing against our people or the customs of our fathers, yet I was delivered as a prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans. 18"And when they had examined me, they were willing to release me because there was no ground for putting me to death. 19"But when the Jews objected, I was forced to appeal to Caesar, not that I had any accusation against my nation. 20"For this reason, therefore, I requested to see you and to speak with you, for I am wearing this chain for the sake of the hope of Israel." 21They said to him, "We have neither received letters from Judea concerning you, nor have any of the brethren come here and reported or spoken anything bad about you. 22"But we desire to hear from you what your views are; for concerning this sect, it is known to us that it is spoken against everywhere."
As always, Paul has a habit of connecting with brothers in Jesus everywhere he goes. NOTE that Paul begins by inviting a group of leading men of the Jews. They had not heard of Paul's problems throughout the world, so they were interested to hear why he was a prisoner "for the sake of the hope of Israel." They had heard about this new Messianic movement.
23When they had set a day for Paul, they came to him at his lodging in large numbers; and he was explaining to them by solemnly testifying about the kingdom of God and trying to persuade them concerning Jesus, from both the Law of Moses and from the Prophets, from morning until evening. 24Some were being persuaded by the things spoken, but others would not believe.
After quoting a passage from the prophet Isaiah, Paul said, 28"Therefore let it be known to you that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will also listen." 29[When he had spoken these words, the Jews departed, having a great dispute among themselves.] 30And he stayed two full years in his own rented quarters and was welcoming all who came to him, 31preaching the kingdom of God and teaching concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with all openness, unhindered.
NOTE the themes of Paul's message-the kingdom of God and the person of Jesus. I think this is most incredible and instructive for us today. After being educated beyond my intelligence with 4 years of graduate seminary, 7 years of Greek to study the New Testament and 3 ½ years of Hebrew to study the Old Testament, I have come to realize the powerful message of the 21st Century Jesus movement is very simple.
In fact, it's the same as in the 2nd Century. Two subjects that must be shared: FIRST-THE KINGDOM OF GOD SECOND-THE PERSON OF JESUS.
When I stick to this simplicity, then I find people drawn to Jesus and His way of living life. When I add-on to this simplicity and make it more complicated, I find people drawing lines in the sand, poised for a debate.
Here it is again: RELIGION AND ITS TEACHINGS DIVIDE-JESUS UNITES!