Skip to main content

Unhindered: Acts 28

We’ve reached the end of the book of Acts. Paul and company are shipwrecked on the island of Malta at the beginning. By the end, Paul is in his own “rented quarters,” where he spends a definite time of two years. He is likely still under guard (Acts 28:16) which makes this a form of home detention.

Yet he nearly did not make it off of Malta. Well, at least that was what the Maltese expected. Back in Acts 28:3-5, Paul is bitten by a snake. The shipwrecked crew, prisoners, and soldiers are gathering firewood and Paul gathers up an asp in the process. The locals expect what is referred to on the internet these days as “instant karma” where Paul is immediately treated as he deserves, but brought on by an unexpected means.

Mid-Nerd Note: v. 4 refers to “justice.” Or to “Justice” as the goddess of right/wrong and law. It is actually rather difficult to tell from the language, as the same word applies to both the concept and the deity behind it in the Greek-speaking world. Either the Maltese expected that the principles of the universe were getting even with Paul, or that a deity of the pantheon was. Either way, they are wrong.

Paul, however shakes off the snake and goes on about his business. The people begin, then, to wonder if he’s one of the gods rather than a victim of them. And Paul goes on about his business. He is asked to heal the father of the chief man of the island, and then to heal about every other sick person on the island. (No word on him leaving a falcon, though.)

They cross the sea over on to the Apennine Peninsula, and make their way up to Rome. Along the way, Paul meets with Jews and Christians, sharing the Gospel and encouraging the people. He remains guarded, as mentioned, but is free to preach and teach those who come to him.

Through it all, Paul goes about his business.

1. Paul is not shaken to depression in the bad parts. While we do not know the finer points of his mindset, we see Paul consistently doing what he is supposed to do. That is worth remembering: do not give in. Keep up.

2. Paul is not pushed to excessive exaltation in the good parts. We also do not see Paul turning into an adrenaline or success junkie through all of this. The good is what it is, the bad is what it is. There is still the day’s work to be done.

3. Paul is confirmed in his commitment. While his heart’s desire, as we see in Romans, is to see his own people Israel to believe Jesus is Lord, he has long counted himself on a mission to the Gentiles of this world. When he meets with the Jews of Rome, he attempts to persuade them of the truth of Christianity, but they refuse. He is again reminded that his goal is to share with anyone, and so takes the Jew along with the Greek.

4. Paul is unhindered despite his circumstances. The closing word of the book of Acts is ακωλυτως. (That should be the unaccented Greek word.) It is the word unhindered. He is possibly chained to a Roman guard, although it is possible that his home detention is more like having a strict parole, with check-in times. Or that the guard just lives with Paul. Whatever the case, no one is stopped from coming to him, and he is able to speak to all. He is unhindered in his preaching.

5. Paul is unhindered in who he receives. This one is important, and I think we overlook it too often. Our focus is often on Paul in the closing verses, but look at Acts 28:30. Paul receives all who come to him. In our days of specialty churches that take people of this type but distance themselves from people of that type or of targeting our evangelism here but not bothering with there, we have Paul. Receiving all. He makes no distinction between Jews or Gentiles, Romans or Barbarians, all.

How many of us really have that mentality in how we live the Christian life? That we would want all to come to us to know the Faith?

Today’s Nerd Note(s): 1. Ever consider how often God uses snakes for His purposes in Scripture? Even at Eden, then coming through Moses, Pharaoh, the snakes of judgment in the wilderness, Nehushtan, and here…and those are just from memory. The snake is possibly the most common non-sacrificial animal with symbolic usage in Scripture. While this should not put us on to snake-charming, that should make us consider something: here’s the creature that helps induce the fall, yet here is the creature that often shows forth God’s glory and mercy for others. Don’t be the snake.

2. Notice Paul’s usage of Isaiah at the end. He cites the lesser-remembered part of the call of Isaiah, where God points out that people will hear but not receive, see but not understand. This is the story of Paul’s life, and is part of the pattern of Christian witness in the world: here we are, but are we heeded? What difference does it make? Faithfulness is our call. Faithful to the truth, the love, the holiness, the grace of God. Handle that, and let the rest come as it may.


Popular posts from this blog

Book Review: The Heart Mender by @andyandrews (Andy Andrews)

The Heart Mender: A Story of Second ChancesEver read a book that you just kind of wish is true?  That's my take on The Heart Mender by Andy Andrews.  It's a charming story of love and forgiveness, and it's woven into the historical setting of World War II America.  For the narrative alone, the book is worth the read, but the message it contains is well worth absorbing as well.However, let's drop back a minute.  This book was originally published under the title Island of Saints.  I read Island of Saints and enjoyed it greatly.  Now, Andrews has released it under a new title, with a few minor changes.  All of this is explained in the Author's Note at the beginning, but should be noted for purchaser's sake.  If you read Island of Saints, you're rereading when you read The Heart Mender.  Now, go ahead and reread it.  It will not hurt you one bit.Overall, the story is well-paced.  There are points where I'd like more detail, both in the history and the geog…

Book: The Gospel Call and True Conversion

A quick note: This book, The Gospel Call and True Conversion, is currently available on Kindle for $4.99. This is the second in a series of 3, and the first, The Gospel’s Power and Message, is available for $2.99.The Gospel Call and True Conversion. The title of this book alone sounds intimidating, and adding that it’s written by one of the heavyweights of American Reformed Christianity, Paul Washer, does not lessen the intimidation factor. Washer is known to be a straightforward preacher—for good or for ill.What did I find in The Gospel call and True Conversion? I found some things to like:1. Paul Washer is passionate for the truth. He wants to know the truth. He wants to proclaim the truth. He wants the truth heard. He wants you to know the truth. This is good. It is good to see someone not try to base theology on popularity or as a response to modern events, but to base it clearly on truth. 2. There is a strong emphasis on the reality that true conversion (from the title) will resu…

Sermon Recap for July 29 (and 22)

Good Morning!Here is what you'll find: there is an audio player with the sermon audios built-in to it, just click to find the one you want. You'll also find the embedded Youtube videos of each sermon.If you'd like, you can subscribe to the audio feed here: for iTunes users. Other audio feeds go here: video is linked on my personal Youtube Page here: are stockpiled here:!July 29 AM: (Audio)
July 29 PM: (Audio)
July 22 AM: (Audio)July 22 PM: (Audio)