Winter in Malta. 1Once we had reached safety we learned that the island was called Malta. 2The natives showed us extraordinary hospitality; they lit a fire and welcomed all of us because it had begun to rain and was cold. 3Paul had gathered a bundle of brushwood and was putting it on the fire when a viper, escaping from the heat, fastened on his hand. 4When the natives saw the snake hanging from his hand, they said to one another, “This man must certainly be a murderer; though he escaped the sea, Justice* has not let him remain alive.” 5But he shook the snake off into the fire and suffered no harm. 6They were expecting him to swell up or suddenly to fall down dead but, after waiting a long time and seeing nothing unusual happen to him, they changed their minds and began to say that he was a god.a 7In the vicinity of that place were lands belonging to a man named Publius, the chief of the island. He welcomed us and received us cordially as his guests for three days. 8It so happened that the father of Publius was sick with a fever and dysentery. Paul visited him and, after praying, laid his hands on him and healed him. 9After this had taken place, the rest of the sick on the island came to Paul and were cured. 10They paid us great honor and when we eventually set sail they brought us the provisions we needed.
Arrival in Rome. 11Three months later we set sail on a ship that had wintered at the island. It was an Alexandrian ship with the Dioscuri* as its figurehead. 12We put in at Syracuse and stayed there three days, 13and from there we sailed round the coast and arrived at Rhegium. After a day, a south wind came up and in two days we reached Puteoli. 14There we found some brothers and were urged to stay with them for seven days. And thus we came to Rome. 15The brothers from there heard about us and came as far as the Forum of Appius and Three Taverns to meet us. On seeing them, Paul gave thanks to God and took courage. 16When he entered Rome,* Paul was allowed to live by himself, with the soldier who was guarding him.
Testimony to Jews in Rome. 17* Three days later he called together the leaders of the Jews. When they had gathered he said to them, “My brothers, although I had done nothing against our people or our ancestral customs, I was handed over to the Romans as a prisoner from Jerusalem.b 18After trying my case the Romans wanted to release me, because they found nothing against me deserving the death penalty.c 19But when the Jews objected, I was obliged to appeal to Caesar, even though I had no accusation to make against my own nation.d 20This is the reason, then, I have requested to see you and to speak with you, for it is on account of the hope of Israel* that I wear these chains.”e 21They answered him, “We have received no letters from Judea about you, nor has any of the brothers arrived with a damaging report or rumor about you. 22But we should like to hear you present your views, for we know that this sect is denounced everywhere.”f
23So they arranged a day with him and came to his lodgings in great numbers. From early morning until evening, he expounded his position to them, bearing witness to the kingdom of God and trying to convince them about Jesus from the law of Moses and the prophets. 24Some were convinced by what he had said, while others did not believe. 25* Without reaching any agreement among themselves they began to leave; then Paul made one final statement. “Well did the holy Spirit speak to your ancestors through the prophet Isaiah, saying:
26‘Go to this people and say:g
You shall indeed hear but not understand.
You shall indeed look but never see.
27Gross is the heart of this people;
they will not hear with their ears;
they have closed their eyes,
so they may not see with their eyes
and hear with their ears
and understand with their heart and be converted,
and I heal them.’
28h Let it be known to you that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will listen.” 29*
30* He remained for two full years in his lodgings. He received all who came to him, 31and with complete assurance and without hindrance he proclaimed the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.
* [28:4] Justice: in Greek mythology, the pursuing goddess of vengeance and justice.
* [28:11] Dioscuri: that is, the Twin Brothers, Castor and Pollux, the sons of Zeus and the patrons of the sailors.
* [28:16] With Paul’s arrival in Rome, the programmatic spread of the word of the Lord to “the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8) is accomplished. In Rome, Paul is placed under house arrest, and under this mild form of custody he is allowed to proclaim the word in the capital of the civilized world of his day.
* [28:17–22] Paul’s first act in Rome is to learn from the leaders of the Jewish community whether the Jews of Jerusalem plan to pursue their case against him before the Roman jurisdiction. He is informed that no such plan is afoot, but that the Jews of Rome have heard the Christian teaching denounced. Paul’s offer to explain it to them is readily accepted.
* [28:20] The hope of Israel: in the words of Paul (Acts 23:6), Luke has identified this hope as hope in the resurrection of the dead.
* [28:25–28] Paul’s final words in Acts reflect a major concern of Luke’s writings: how the salvation promised in the Old Testament, accomplished by Jesus, and offered first to Israel (Acts 13:26), has now been offered to and accepted by the Gentiles. Quoting Is 6:9–10, Paul presents the scriptural support for his indictment of his fellow Jews who refuse to accept the message he proclaims. Their rejection leads to its proclamation among the Gentiles.
* [28:29] The Western text has added here a verse that is not found in the best Greek manuscripts: “And when he had said this, the Jews left, seriously arguing among themselves.”
* [28:30–31] Although the ending of Acts may seem to be abrupt, Luke has now completed his story with the establishment of Paul and the proclamation of Christianity in Rome. Paul’s confident and unhindered proclamation of the gospel in Rome forms the climax to the story whose outline was provided in Acts 1:8—“You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem…and to the ends of the earth.”
c. [28:18] 23:29; 25:25; 26:31–32.
e. [28:20] 23:6; 24:15, 21; 26:6–8.
g. [28:26] Is 6:9–10; Mt 13:14–15; Mk 4:12; Lk 8:10; Jn 12:40; Rom 11:8.