Introduction: Paul appealed to Rome! We learned last week that Paul
would have been found “not guilty” of the criminal charges against
him – or so the judges said privately to each other. But, Paul was
concerned that he would be turned over to the Jews, and so he
appealed to Caesar in Rome. My clients often find that the judicial
system is a lot slower than they expected. Paul learns that same
lesson. This week we discover Paul’s travel delays in the next phase
of his litigation. Let’s dig into our Bible and learn more!

  1. Setting Sail

    1. Read Acts 27:1-2. Our text says “Aristarchus, a Macedonian
      from Thessalonica, was with us.” Who is the “us?” (Since
      Luke wrote Acts, it must refer to at least Luke and Paul.)

      1. Who is in charge of the prisoner transport? (A
        centurion named Julius.)

    2. Read Acts 27:3. What is the attitude of the centurion
      towards Paul? (He is kind to him. What a blessing.)

    3. Let’s skip down to Acts 27:9-12 and read it. Whose counsel
      would you take? The advice of a prisoner preacher, or the
      advice of the captain of the ship?

    4. Read Acts 27:14-20. Have you had the experience of giving
      the right advice to a group which did not take it? And,
      when they refused your advice, did it got you into serious
      trouble? (That is what Paul is experiencing. He might

    5. Read Acts 27:21. Is Paul a “I told you so,” kind of guy?
      (He is here. But, I think Paul has a motive other than
      showing he was right and they were wrong.)

    6. Read Acts 27:22-26. Would you believe Paul if you were one
      of the group?

      1. Why do you think Paul tells them what he knows? (It
        should encourage everyone. In addition, it will
        encourage them to believe in Jesus, who is Paul’s

    7. Read Acts 27:29-32. Who believes Paul and who does not
      believe him? (We can see here that Julius and the Roman
      soldiers are convinced. The sailors are not. The fact
      that the sailors are trying to save themselves at the
      expense of the others shows their flawed characters.)

    8. Read Acts 27:33-37. What is the deeper meaning of the crew
      throwing the grain into the sea? (They are convinced they
      will not need to eat on board the ship again. Thus, it
      appears that all now believe Paul. However, with regard to
      the sailors, it might merely be that they believe they
      will run aground.)

    9. Read Acts 27:41-43. Do the soldiers now disbelieve Paul?
      (Paul said that everyone would survive. However, he
      appeared to be talking about the storm. He did not say
      anything about running away later – except for himself. He
      said he would stand trial before Caesar. Thankfully, the
      centurion believes Paul and saves him.)

  2. On Land at Malta

    1. Read Acts 28:1-6. How much time elapsed between the people
      thinking Paul was a murderer and thinking he was a god?

      1. What does this tell us about our religious freedom?
        (People can change their minds quickly.)

      2. What does this teach us about evangelism? (People can
        reach the wrong conclusions.)

      3. Read Mark 16:17-18. When the text says, “pick up
        snakes with their hands,” is it talking about
        deliberate risks or is Jesus talking about Paul’s
        situation? (All of these signs are helpful tools for
        missionaries. I think Jesus is talking about Paul’s

    2. Read Acts 28:7. Why would this happen? Paul is a prisoner
      of Rome headed for trial? Why would the chief official of
      the island welcome him into his home?

    3. Read Acts 28:8-10. Paul cures all of the sick people. In
      the past, when we read of these kinds of miracles, Luke
      often notes that a large number of people are converted.
      Why are there no conversions reported? The people already
      think Paul is a god, so it should not be hard. (Perhaps
      this was not reported. Perhaps the people were not yet
      ready to believe.)

  3. Rome

    1. Read Acts 28:13-15. Paul finally arrives in Rome. Why do
      you think Paul is encouraged by this meeting with fellow
      Christians? (They have not forgotten or abandoned him.
      Instead, they traveled some distance just to see him. They
      want to be with Paul.)

    2. Read Acts 28:16. Do you think this is normal? Paul not
      only gets to live by himself, but he only has one soldier.
      Peter, as recounted in Acts 12, could not be restrained
      when chained in a inner prison cell, and guarded by many
      soldiers!(This is not normal. No doubt Governor Festus
      wrote that he thought Paul was innocent.)

    3. Read Acts 28:17-20. Why would the Jewish leaders want to
      come to a meeting called by Paul? Why would they think it
      important enough to take their time? (I suspect there were
      a limited number of Jews in Rome. The community would have
      an interest in a Jewish prisoner who is highly educated
      and has an unusual “prison” situation.)

      1. How does Paul characterize the charges against him?
        (As theological. “It is because of the hope of Israel
        that I am bound with this chain.”)

    4. Read Acts 28:21-22. The Jewish leaders have not heard
      anything about Paul, but they have heard that Christians
      are a problem. If you were Paul, would this good or bad

    5. Read Acts 28:23. Paul draws a crowd. What is his approach
      in trying to convince this group? (He argues based on what
      they already know.)

    6. Read Acts 28:24-26. Is Paul insulting them? (Once again,
      he argues based on what they already know. He reminds them
      that their ancestors were warned about not believing.)

    7. Read Acts 28:27. How could this statement of Isaiah apply?
      How are their hearts calloused? They have not heard of
      Paul before, but they are willing to come to hear him.
      (The “callous” is not from rejecting the gospel message
      repeatedly, but rather from being content with their
      current beliefs. We must be sensitive to the continued
      leading of the Holy Spirit.)

    8. Read Acts 28:28. This has to be insulting to the Jews.
      Should we evangelize with insults? (Paul did not start out
      with insults. But, the reference to their ancestors
      refusing to listen is likely insulting, and the statement
      that the Gentiles will do better is insulting!)

      1. What is Paul’s goal with his insults? (He wants to
        move them from complacency. He wants to break through
        their calloused hearts.)

    9. Read Acts 28:30-31. What about his appeal to Caesar? What
      about his trial? Why are we left up in the air about the
      conclusion? Or, is this a conclusion? (We do not read
      about the trial and how it turned out. But, we do have a
      conclusion in some sense. Paul’s life is not going the way
      he wants. He is restrained by the government. Yet, Paul
      continues to “boldly” preach the gospel. This is a
      conclusion that applies to those of us who face

    10. Read 2 Timothy 4:6-8. What does Paul anticipate will be
      his future? (He believes that the time for his death has
      come, but the Bible never specifically tells us about his
      death. The writings of Eusebius report us that Paul was
      beheaded during the reign of Roman Emperor Nero. Nero
      blamed the burning of Rome on the Christians.)

      1. Do you foresee a time when calamities beset the world
        and it blames Christians for it?

    11. Friend, will you ask the Holy Spirit to help you be like
      Paul – to keep your courage and continue to preach the
      gospel even when the forces of evil are making things
      difficult for you?

  4. Next week: We begin a new series about unity in the church
    called “Oneness in Christ.”