God begins Paul’s journey to Rome. He is put under the authority of a Roman centurion, Julius, and allowed a few traveling companions, including Luke.
It’s getting close to winter when it will be nearly impossible to sail on the Mediterranean Sea. After leaving Fair Havens, a harbor in Crete, against Paul’s advice, the ship is caught up in a hurricane-strength storm. The travelers and crew despair. God sends an angel to tell Paul that no one is going to die, although the ship will be destroyed. The ship runs aground on the island of Malta, but everyone survives. God performs signs and wonders through Paul on Malta, including healing the sick.
Finally, they complete their journey to Rome. Paul is allowed to live in a rented house under Roman guard. After being in the city for three days, Paul convenes the city’s Jewish leadership and explains why he is in Rome. The group is curious to hear more about Paul’s views. They choose a day to gather again, and an even larger group gathers. Paul tells them about Jesus; some Jews believe, but others don’t. As they are leaving, Paul lets them know that the Jewish people’s rejection of Jesus has opened up the message of redemption to the Gentiles—and they will listen.
For two years, Paul boldly teaches about Jesus in Rome.
The King’s Heart
Being in prison in Caesarea and then under house arrest in Rome must have been so frustrating to Paul. He was like an eagle with its wings clipped. He could be out planting churches, telling people about Jesus.
But God wasn’t wasting any of Paul’s circumstances. Despite being a Roman prisoner, God gave Paul the opportunity to strengthen the faith of the believers in the heart of the known world. Evidently Paul would eventually stand before the most powerful man on earth—Caesar—and tell him about Jesus. During his Roman imprisonment Paul would write Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and Philemon—letters that have been read by and encouraged countless Jesus-followers for centuries.
Luke doesn’t tell us what happened to Paul. God inspired Luke to end Acts with Paul teaching boldly about Jesus and the kingdom of God. That must be what God wants us to focus on too.
It seems that Luke wrote such a long account of Paul’s journey to Rome for many reasons, but one could be to show the difference between Paul and Jonah. The Old Testament prophet was also sent to speak God’s message, but Jonah sailed in the opposite direction God wanted him to go. Paul went willingly wherever God lead—even into danger.