“After three months we put out to sea in a ship that had wintered in the island—it was an Alexandrian ship with the figurehead of the twin gods Castor and Pollux. 12 We put in at Syracuse and stayed there three days. 13 From there we set sail and arrived at Rhegium. The next day the south wind came up, and on the following day we reached Puteoli. 14 There we found some brothers and sisters who invited us to spend a week with them. And so we came to Rome. 15 The brothers and sisters there had heard that we were coming, and they traveled as far as the Forum of Appius and the Three Taverns to meet us. At the sight of these people Paul thanked God and was encouraged. 16 When we got to Rome, Paul was allowed to live by himself, with a soldier to guard him.” Acts 28.11-16
After months of travel, Paul finally arrives in Rome. This would be his final destination and and penultimate act of his faithfulness to Christ. Paul arrives there with the writer of the Book of Acts, Luke, the physician who writes, “And so we came to Rome.” Luke is in this with his brother Paul. Although Paul is the one under house arrest, being guarded by just one soldier, Luke and several fellow believers are with him.
At this point in Paul’s life, he has seen so much, endured so much both physically and spiritually. Jesus promised Paul, when they met upon the Damascus Road, that he would have to suffer much for his name. And so he has and so he will. He has now arrived at the place where he would have the most influence as an evangelist for the cause of Christ. Speaking to Caesar himself and the top Roman officials who would hear and believe the message of Christ.
This reminds me of a Billy Graham post I saw recently when this great American evangelist preached in Seoul, Korea many years ago. The photo was of a revival his association was hosting and from an aerial view, you could see upwards of a million souls in attendance. This is hard to believe but I had never seen anything quite like this. And yet, the reach of Paul would be even greater in time. Calling people not to climate change, political agendas or socially accepted norms —- Paul called people to follow Christ.
Paul’s reach, through the power of the Holy Spirit was so effective, that there were believers already in Rome, welcoming and greeting him as a brother in the Lord. The promise Jesus made in Act 1.8, that his disciples would be witnesses into all the world, was coming true right before Paul’s eyes. Some scholars say Paul arrived in Rome in February of 58 AD, and later died by persecution in 60 AD. Some thirty years after Jesus was crucified in Jerusalem.
The message of the Cross remains alive and pressing today. As I conclude the Revive Children’s Camp, we are seeing dozens of children hear and receive this same message. Little do they know the history of the call of Christ upon humanity. They are discovering for themselves the fresh filling of the Holy Spirit and the joy of walking with Jesus. It’s a privilege to walk in the footsteps of Jesus from Nazareth and to communicate his message of love and repentance to the world.
Have you heard and received this message of salvation? Have you chosen to follow Jesus with your life?
“O Lord God, I thank you for the work of the Lord. It is wonderful and tiresome all at the same time. But it is where you have called me to be. Thank you for allowing me to be involved in your work. I know that the impact you are having will last for eternity. Come now, Holy Spirit, fill me with strength to continue the journey. I love you Lord and praise your name. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen