Summary: Acts 29-the unknown chapter of the Bible
15. The Book of Acts
August 30th, 2009
Can I get a volunteer to come up here and read our text for today? Ok thank you very much. Would you open your Bible to the very end of the book of Acts for me. Let me know when you get there. Ok, now if you would begin reading in Acts chapter 29 verse 1. What’s the problem? It’s not there? Your Bible doesn’t have an Acts 29? What translation is it? Well that is lame. Does anyone have a real Bible? One that has the rest of the book of Acts? No one? No one has a Bible that has Acts 29? That seems strange. Ok well that’s all I need from you I suppose you can go sit down. Perhaps I was remembering this wrong. Let’s go back to chapter 28 then. We will start in verse 17 maybe we can figure out what happened to the rest of the book of Acts.
Here is what has been happening: Paul went to Jerusalem in Acts 21 where he was preaching the gospel when some Jews accused him of bringing a gentile into the temple of God which is a big no-no. The crowd got agitated and tried to kill him but Paul was whisked away by Roman guards. Due to an eminent threat on his life, probably from his own family Paul was lead out of Jerusalem by the Roman guards and escorted to Caesarea where he would wait to stand trial before the governor there, a man named Felix. Paul was held by Felix for two years until Felix was replaced as governor by Porcius Festus. A new governor meant a new trial for Paul. Once again the Jewish leaders had an opportunity to get their hands on this man they wanted dead. They began to urge Festus to send Paul back to Jerusalem to stand trial where they had an ambushed prepared for him. When Festus wanted to do the Jews a favor asked Paul if he would be willing to move the trial to Jerusalem Paul appealed his case to Caesar. After a few more trials Paul was finally shipped off to Rome. The trip did not go smoothly. There was a great storm and the ship he was on was wrecked but the crew managed to survive and made it to an Island called Malta. Having just escaped the storm Paul was bitten by a poisonous snake. Yet Paul did not die. This caught the people’s attention. So Paul is brought before the leader of the island an official named Publius who was also a legate which is an important office in Rome. Paul was taken into Publius’ home where he healed the official’s father who had been suffering from a fever and dysentery. When the news of what Paul had done got out all the people brought their sick to Paul to be cured. It is important to note that this is not the same word that was used to earlier. The healing Paul carried out was a miraculous healing. The word used to describe what happened to the people from the rest of the island is where we get our word ‘therapy’. It is likely that Paul healed Publius’s father and Luke being a physician used his medical skills to care for the rest of the village. As a result of this the villagers worked to get the supplies Paul would need to finish his journey to Rome.
After about three months they finally made their way off of the island toward Rome. Finally we are getting to the end. We have reached the climax of the story where everything starts to come together. For seven chapters we have been in this process of slowly moving towards Rome the capital of the ancient world. It would be here Paul would stand trial before the Emperor who was the most powerful and influential man alive. When they reached Rome Paul was allowed to live under house arrest. During this time he began to preach. He called together all the leaders of the Jews in Rome and began to share with them what has happening. So our text begins in verse 17:
Acts 28:17Three days later he called together the leaders of the Jews. When they had assembled, Paul said to them: "My brothers, although I have done nothing against our people or against the customs of our ancestors, I was arrested in Jerusalem and handed over to the Romans. 18They examined me and wanted to release me, because I was not guilty of any crime deserving death. 19But when the Jews objected, I was compelled to appeal to Caesar—not that I had any charge to bring against my own people. 20For this reason I have asked to see you and talk with you. It is because of the hope of Israel that I am bound with this chain." 21They replied, "We have not received any letters from Judea concerning you, and none of the brothers who have come from there has reported or said anything bad about you. 22But we want to hear what your views are, for we know that people everywhere are talking against this sect." 23They arranged to meet Paul on a certain day, and came in even larger numbers to the place where he was staying. From morning till evening he explained and declared to them the kingdom of God and tried to convince them about Jesus from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets. 24Some were convinced by what he said, but others would not believe. 25They disagreed among themselves and began to leave after Paul had made this final statement: "The Holy Spirit spoke the truth to your forefathers when he said through Isaiah the prophet: 26" ’Go to this people and say, "You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving." 27For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.’ 28"Therefore I want you to know that God’s salvation has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will listen!" 30For two whole years Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him. 31Boldly and without hindrance he preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.