What does it say?
Paul has long wanted to go to Rome, but he certainly never imagined his journey to be under these circumstances (Acts 27). Paul and other prisoners are charged to a centurion named Julius for the journey to Rome over the Mediterranean Sea. This trip begins in the fall when sailing can be dangerous. It will involve sailing on three different ships, a shipwreck in a severe storm and much drama.
Following the shipwreck, Paul and the others survive by making land on the island of Melita where Paul is bitten by a poisonous snake and survives unharmed. This opens the door to a healing ministry among the inhabitants of the island. Paul eventually arrives in Rome where he is allowed to live under house arrest, affording him opportunity to minister to Jews and Gentiles alike for a space of two years.
What does it mean?
Many marvel at the accuracy of Luke’s account of the sailing voyage that gives evidence of genuine eyewitness testimony and a masterful first century understanding of sailing.
Another key feature of this passage is Paul’s courage and leadership under extreme pressure. He earlier told disciples in Galatia (Acts 14:22) that we must through much tribulation enter the kingdom of God. Here, Paul shows that believers can face danger and hard times with dignity and courage and be motivated by the mission rather than fear.
Through the centuries Bible students have observed that Acts has no real ending. It is as though Luke reaches a certain point and stops the narrative, but very much with the impression that the story continues. The Gospels are the story of Jesus; Acts is the story of how the disciples live out what Jesus taught. The official name of the book is Acts of the Apostles. With no formal ending, the book communicates that today we are living the same story, and this is the approach we have taken in this Bible reading since the beginning. The Bible is one book with one mission and one story.
How will I respond?
Jesus’ mission is the same one he gave to his disciples and the same one that has been passed down over the centuries to me. What are two or three ways that my life and mission is affected even today by Paul and his missionary team? What can I do to make my life more productive in passing this life and mission on to others? What one thing will I do to make application of what I see here in Acts?