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Bible Commentaries

Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible

Acts 28

 

 

Verses 1-31

Acts 28:1-3. And when they were escaped, then they knew that the island was called Melita. And the barbarous people shewed us no little kindness: for they kindled a fire, and received us every one, because of the present rain, and because of the cold. And when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks, —

It must have been a fine sight to see the great apostle of the Gentiles gathering a bundle of sticks to put on the fire. But the men who can do great things are usually the men who do not disdain to do little things.

Acts 28:3-5. And laid them on the fire, there came a viper out of the heat, and fastened on his hand. And when the barbarians saw the venomous beast hang on his hand, they said among themselves, No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he hath escaped the sea, yet vengeance suffereth not to live. And he shook off the beast into the fire, and felt no harm.

Was not this a fulfillment of the Master’s words concerning the signs following faith in him? “They shall take up serpents.” Whether this viper had bitten Paul so as to really fill his veins with venom, we do not know, and it is an equal miracle whether it had done so or not. Whether the sting had already poisoned him or not, his life was preserved, and that was sufficient.

Acts 28:6. Howbeit they looked when he should have swollen, or fallen down dead suddenly: but after they had looked a great while, and saw no harm come to him, they changed their minds, and said that he was a god.

Those who saw what had happened to him regarded it as so marvellous that they thought he must be one of their heathen deities who had come down to the earth. He was not a god, however; but he was a man of God, and God had preserved him in the hour of peril.

Acts 28:7-10. In the same quarters were possessions of the chief man of the island whose name was Publius; who received us, and lodged us three days courteously. And it came to pass, that the father of Publius lay sick of a fever and of a bloody flux: to whom Paul entered in, and prayed, and laid his hands on him and healed him. So when this was done, others also, which had diseases in the island, came, and were healed: who also honoured us with many honours; and when we departed, they laded us with such things as were necessary.

Happy island of Melita to have such a missionary driven on its shore, to heal the sick, and preach the gospel to the people. The calamities of ministers are often a benediction to the people. The shipwreck of Paul resulted in blessing to that island which otherwise it might have missed. Let us, as God’s servants, leave ourselves in his hands, and believe that he can sometimes use us better by means of a shipwreck than if he had given the winds and waves charge concerning us to bear us safely to our desired haven.

Acts 28:11-13. And after three months we departed in a ship of Alexandria, which had wintered in the isle, whose sign was Castor and Pollux. And landing at Syracuse, we tarried there three days. 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:

Those who have ever been there regard the spot as almost sacred where Paul set his foot on his way to Rome. It is a place where there is an abundance of hot springs, a place which of old was frequented for healing; I have stood there with intense delight: “We came the next day to Puteoli:”

Acts 28:14. Where we found brethren, —

There were some Christians there. See how soon the gospel had spread as far as to this sea-port town; probably some Christian sailors carried it there. Blessed will it be when the ships of Tarshish shall bear not only men specially set apart as missionaries, but when every sailor shall be a missionary for Christ. “We came the next day to Puteoli: where we found brethren,” —

Acts 28:14. And were desired to tarry with them seven days: —

So they were able to have one Lord’s day together. They were probably only a very small company of poor Christians, but what a joyful privilege it was for them to have the beloved apostle with them for that memorable week in their lives!

Acts 28:14. And so we went toward Rome.

Now it was a matching band of soldiers taking them as prisoners to appear before the emperor at Rome.

Acts 28:15. 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.

It must have cheered his heart to see that there were some who loved him sufficiently to make a weary tramp along the Appian Road, to meet him, and salute him in the name of their common Lord.

Acts 28:16. 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.

This was a great favor, no doubt, but do not forget that he had to have his right hand chained to the left hand of the soldier day and night and that was not very pleasant either for him or for the soldier. Yet he thus had an opportunity of personal intercourse with the soldiers of the Pretorian guard, and as they were continually being changed, Paul no doubt had opportunities of conversation with hundreds of them, and thus the gospel was spread in a very unlikely quarter. Would you like to be chained to a soldier day after day, and month after month? There are some who would not have that experience for half an hour without putting the gospel plainly before the soldier so that he should at least know what it is, even if he did not accept it. That is a wonderful way of preaching, — man to man; when they were chained hand to hand, there was no getting away from what Paul had to say.

Acts 28:17. And it came to pass, that after three days —

That was quick work; he had only got into his house three days when he began to work: “After three days” —

Acts 28:17. Paul called the chief of the Jews together: —

There are said to have been seven synagogues in Rome at that time, so the apostle sent for a number of the chief men in the various congregations.

Acts 28:17-20. And when they were come together, he said unto them, Men and brethren, though I have committed nothing against the people, or customs of our fathers, yet was I delivered prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans. Who, when they had examined me, would have let me go, because there was no cause of death in me. But when the Jews spake against it, I was constrained to appeal unto Caesar; not that I had aught to accuse my nation of. For this cause therefore have I called for you, to see you, and to speak with you: because that for the hope of Israel I am bound with this chain.

They were all looking for the Messiah, for there was at that time a general expectation of his coming.

Acts 28:21-22. And they said unto him, We neither received letters out of Judaea concerning thee, neither any of the brethren that came shewed or spake any harm of thee. But we desire to hear of thee what thou thinkest: for as concerning this sect, we know that everywhere it is spoken against.

Although men did not understand it, they spoke against it. This is often a blessing. This is the kind of advertisement that helps the gospel, for if men will only be sufficiently interested in it to speak against it, they will be likely to come and hear it, and some of them will be almost certain to receive it. The truth never spreads so fast as when men oppose it.

Acts 28:23. And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into his lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening

It was a long and blessed day, a grand opportunity for Paul thus to be able hour after hour to expound the gospel. But see the result, — the result which always seems to follow the faithful preaching of the truth: —

Acts 28:24-28. And some believed the things which were spoken, and some believed not. And when they agreed not among themselves, they departed, after that Paul had spoken one word, Well spake the Holy ghost by Esaias the prophet unto our fathers, saying, go unto this people, and say, Hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive: for the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it.

Oh, blessed confidence of the apostle! If some reject the gospel, others will receive it.

Acts 28:29-31. And when he had said these words, the Jews departed, and had great reasoning among themselves. And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him, preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, —

What a subject Paul had to preach about, “the kingdom of God, and those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ,” and how faithfully and fearlessly he proclaimed this great theme!

Acts 28:31. With all confidence, no man forbidding him.

 


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Bibliography Information
Spurgeon, Charle Haddon. "Commentary on Acts 28:4". "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/spe/acts-28.html. 2011.

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