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Paul–Steadfast to God’s Purpose For His Life

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The great missionary statesman, Adoniram Judson once said, “The motto of every missionary, whether preacher, printer, or schoolmaster, ought to be ‘Steadfast for Life’.” (Source Unknown).  … More

Steadfast

The ship’s passengers spent three months shipwrecked on the island of Malta (v. 11). Finally another ship gave them passage for the 100 miles to Syracuse in Sicily, then to Rhegium (70 miles) on the toe of Italy, and finally dropping anchor in Puteoli (180 miles) in the bay of Naples (vv. 12-13). There some Christians of the area met Paul, and apparently he was given permission by the centurion to stay with them during the seven-day layover (v. 14). This was an unusual arrangement for a prisoner, but Paul had no doubt gained the centurion’s confidence by this time. Word of Paul’s arrival had reached the Christians in Rome, and a welcome party traveled the forty-three miles from Rome to Appii Forum to meet him and escort him back (v. 15). A second group met him at Three Taverns, which was 10 miles closer. This was certainly a great encouragement to Paul, and probably made a great impression on the centurion and the others traveling with him.

Finally Paul arrived in Rome and was delivered by the centurion to the captain of the imperial praetorian guard, who assigned a soldier to watch over him (v. 16). Probably Paul had witnessed many times to the centurion and had established a respect and friendship with him. One wonders if he ever became a Christian. Under this new arrangement he was permitted to have a considerable amount of freedom and to have visitors. Remember that Paul was a Roman citizen and had not yet been charged with any crimes, but was in Rome only because of his appeal to Caesar (Acts 25:11). We can well imagine that Paul was a common topic of conversation in the barracks room where his guards were housed. Maybe the conversation went something like this. “You’re assigned to Paul today?  Good luck and watch out he doesn’t convert you to his God.” This was a turning point in Paul’s ministry.  Several years before this, he had expressed his desire to meet with the Christians at Rome (Rom. 1:9-10 & 15:32). He had gone through a lot, and he knew he had been steadfast to God’s purpose for his life. God had sent him here to be a witness. Even the soldiers who were guarding him were coming to Christ. Seven of his epistles were written while he was here in prison.

Application

I have often wondered how steadfast I would have been if I had been a prisoner for as long as Paul was. I am sure he needed the encouragement he received in verse 15. In what area of life has God given me special encouragement this week? How important it is for me to encourage leaders I know?

Acts 28:11-16 (English Standard Version)

After three months we set sail in a ship that had wintered in the island, a ship of Alexandria, with the twin gods as a figurehead. Putting in at Syracuse, we stayed there for three days. And from there we made a circuit and arrived at Rhegium. And after one day a south wind sprang up, and on the second day we came to Puteoli. There we found brothers and were invited to stay with them for seven days. And so we came to Rome. And the brothers there, when they heard about us, came as far as the Forum of Appius and Three Taverns to meet us. On seeing them, Paul thanked God and took courage. And when we came into Rome, Paul was allowed to stay by himself, with the soldier that guarded him.

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