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.
12 And landing at Syracuse, we tarried there three days.
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:
14 Where we found brethren, and were desired to tarry with them seven days: and so we went toward Rome.
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.
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.
Perspective matters. We read in verse 11 that they spent three months on the island of Melita. That gave Paul much opportunity to testify of God’s goodness. Those who travelled with Paul were able to observe his response to this situation. The inhabitants of the island were also able to observe what a true Christian looks like and how they behave. Obviously Paul’s outward appearance did not stand out to these people. They assumed he was a murderer when bitten by that viper. When he did not die they assumed he was a god. He did not stand out from the others. It was his demeanour that made the difference. He did not curse and swear. He was not lazy. He ministered to the needs of the people. He was a true servant of the living God.
We read that after three months they found a ship that was heading to Alexandria. We are not told when this ship arrived, but they demonstrated more wisdom than those who were in charge of the ship that Paul sailed on. They waited for favourable weather before they set sail. Alexandria was established by Alexander the Great in about 333 B.C. It was the second most important city in Rome, second only to the city of Rome. There was a library of some 700,000 volumes located there. There were many Jews living there. The Septuagint originated from Alexandria. It was the Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures. It was not an accurate translation. Due to the mixture of people who lived there, it was a hotbed for debate. Clement and Origen made Alexandria their home base. They were two heretics who developed and promoted many false doctrines. They taught universal salvation and the pre-existence of the soul, among other heresies. Alexandria was also known for its grain trading.
Apollos was from Alexandria. He was an eloquent preacher but needed to be further instructed regarding the Gospel. He was not a proud man and accepted the teaching and corrected his theology and continued to preach the Gospel.
That is where Paul was heading for next. He would have opportunity to preach the truth while there. God was giving Paul access to different places as he journeyed to Rome.
The ship they were sailing on had the sign of Castor and Pollux. In Greek and Roman mythology, these were the twin sons of Jupiter. Obviously Paul did not bow before these pagan deities. He was a prisoner and as such had no choice but to board that ship. He did not need to participate in the pagan practices involved. Paul had already established a clear testimony. He did not hide who he was and what he believed. Thus God could give him many open doors to preach the truth.
It is important that born again Christians behave like born again Christians. The world sees much corrupt religion. They need to see the truth.
Our P.M. has stated again that those who do not get the shots should expect that they will not be able to move freely, nor find good jobs. Of much greater importance than the foolish dictates of this wicked man, is the Word of God which shows us that those who are truly born again will suffer persecution. God is not wicked. It is not God’s Word that is wrong. It is the devil who is in opposition to God that is the problem. All are born as lost sinners and until a person gets saved, they are at enmity with God. Some will express that enmity in stronger terms than others do.
God wants all to be saved, but the sad reality is that most remain lost and serve the devil, rather than turning to God in repentance and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. A true local church is important for God’s people. We need encouragement and fellowship with fellow believers. God provides that for us. It is important to listen to Him and follow His leading.
We see in these verses that this ship also did not make a straight line to Alexandria. They may have needed to stop for supplies or to off-load some of the cargo. As they travelled, Paul had opportunity to meet with other saints and encourage them as well.
We read that they came to Puteoli at one point and remained there seven days. During that time, Paul found brethren to fellowship with. We see again that true saints desire the fellowship of other saints. Paul wrote letters and he received letters. However, that was not the same as meeting in person with the saints.
In verse 15 Paul was further encouraged by brethren who heard of his travels and met him at Appii forum. The Appii forum and the Three Taverns were towns on the Appian Way. The Appian Way was a major roadway leading to Rome. It was a very important road used for commerce as well as for soldiers to travel back and forth. Parts of that Way are still in existence to this day. Paul was thankful for the opportunities given him to meet with other saints. It has been strange to observe professing Christians lock themselves away according to ungodly government dictates over the past two years. We need the encouragement of other saints. We need the encouragement of sitting under the preaching and teaching of God’s Word.
News reports suggest that this fall things will get tighter again. God has given us the past few weeks to fellowship openly in preparation for further testing. The devil is intent on interfering with God’s design for His children to fellowship with one another. The devil knows Christians will be much weaker when they do not fellowship together. God knows that true saints need fellowship together around His Word. We, who are saved, need to pray for one another and for boldness to obey God and serve Him faithfully. Of course the Lord could return any day and that will take the true saints out of this world. That will be a blessed day for the saints, but not for the unsaved.
In Rome, the centurion was finally able to deliver the prisoners to the captain of the guard. This had been quite the journey. We read that Paul was allowed to dwell by himself with a soldier to guard him. He was basically under house arrest. Of course, Paul was no danger to the Romans. Due to the way the Roman system worked, he would have had opportunity to testify to many soldiers over the time he was held in Rome. He was also given liberty to visit with brethren who would travel through to meet him.
God does not give every one of His children the same opportunities and challenges. He has a purpose for each one. Peter needed to understand that as Jesus was speaking to him prior to His ascension. True saints pray for one another and seek to serve God faithfully in the place where He has placed them. A good local church should be the central part of every true believer’s life.