Acts  ◦   Chapter 28

1After we were safe and sound on shore, we discovered that the island was called Malta.2The residents of the island were exceptionally kind to us. They built a fire and welcomed us in from the rain and cold.3Paul gathered some brushwood, and as he was putting it on the fire, a viper, driven out by the heat, bit him, latching on to his hand.4When the islanders saw this, they said, "This man must be a killer; for even though he escaped the sea, justice has found him and will not allow him to live."5But Paul just smiled and shook the snake off into the fire, and suffered no ill effects.6The people watched closely, expecting his hand to swell, or turn black, or for him to suddenly drop over dead. But after waiting a long time and seeing no ill effects, they changed their minds about him and decided he was a god.

7A nearby estate belonged to Publius, the mayor of the island. He welcomed us to his home and entertained us for three days.8His father was sick in bed with fever, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Paul went to him, prayed for him, and then placed hands on him and healed him.9After this happened, all the sick on the island came to Paul and were cured.10They treated us with great respect, and when it was time for us to sail, they provided us with all the supplies we needed.

11Three months later, we put out to sea in a ship that had wintered at the island. It was from Alexandria and had the figurehead of the twin gods Castor and Pollux.12We made port at Syracuse and stayed there three days.13From there we sailed to Rhegium, and the following day, with a south wind, we reached Puteoli.14There we found some members of the Lord's spiritual health-care team, who invited us to spend the week with them. And then we came to Rome.15The Lord's team members there had heard we were coming, and they traveled out to the Forum of Appius and the Three Taverns to meet us. When Paul saw these people, he thanked God and was cheered.16In Rome, Paul was given permission to live by himself, with a soldier to guard him.

17Three days later, he called a meeting with the Jewish leaders. When they assembled, Paul said: "My fellow Israelites, although I have done no wrong to our people or violated any customs of our ancestors, I was arrested in Jerusalem and handed over to the Romans.18They examined me and wanted to set me free because I was not guilty of any crime worthy of imprisonment or death,19but the Jews protested so adamantly that I was forced to appeal my case to Caesar–not that I intended to bring any charge against my own people.20This is the reason I have asked to speak with you, since it is because of the hope held by all Israel that I am bound in these chains."

21They answered, "We have not received any letters of warning from Judea about you, and no Jews who have come from there have reported or said anything negative about you.22We would like to hear what you have to say, because this cult is becoming so popular that people everywhere are talking about it."

23They set a date to meet with Paul, and showed up in even larger numbers at the place where he was staying. All day long, from dawn until late at night, Paul explained the reality of God's kingdom of love to them and tried to convince them from the books of Moses and the Prophets about Jesus.24Some were convinced, but others refused to believe.25They disagreed with each other and got up to leave after Paul's final statement: "The Holy Spirit spoke the truth to our ancestors when he said through God's spokesperson Isaiah:26'Go to the people and tell them, "You listen but you don't understand; you look but you don't comprehend."27For the hearts of these people have become selfish and hard; they close their ears to avoid hearing the truth, and shut their eyes to avoid seeing the truth. If they didn't do this, then they would understand with their hearts and turn to me, and I would heal them.'

28"So understand this: God's Remedy has been sent to the rest of the non-Jewish world, and they will partake of it!"29After Paul said this, the Jews left, arguing amongst themselves.

30For two entire years Paul lived in Rome in his own rented house and welcomed any who came to see him.31Boldly and without hesitation, he shared the Remedy of God's kingdom of love and taught the truth about the Lord Jesus Christ.