As we conclude the BLESS Challenge, have you been able to see God at work in your life and through your life as you’ve looked for ways to begin to pray, listen, engage, serve, and share your story with your neighbors, co-workers, family, and friends?
What we see in the life of the apostle Paul is someone always looking to advance Jesus’ Kingdom to those around him whether he’s visiting a new city or on a boat heading to prison in Rome.
In Acts 28, Paul finds himself shipwrecked on the island of Malta along with other travelers.
The locals show kindness to Paul and his companions, and as Paul is gathering firewood, a snake bites him. However, Paul miraculously suffers no harm, which astonishes the people of Malta and leads them to believe that he is a godly man. [Perhaps this experience is what the writer of Mark 16 means by those who follow Jesus could miraculously survive snake bites]
Paul later meets a man named Publius, who is the chief official of the island. Publius’s father is ill, so Paul prays for him, and he is healed. This leads to Paul being invited to stay on the island for three months, during which time he continues to heal and preach the message of Jesus to the people of Malta.
After the three months, Paul and his companions set sail again and eventually arrive in Rome, the capital of the Roman Empire. The local believers there hear about Paul’s arrival and come to meet him. Paul is encouraged by their support, and he begins sharing the good news of Jesus with the Jewish leaders in Rome.
Some of the Jewish leaders accept Paul’s message, while others reject it. Paul then quotes a prophecy from the Hebrew Scriptures, saying that the salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles (non-Jewish people), and they will listen.
The chapter ends with Paul staying in Rome for two years, where he welcomes all who come to him and continues to proclaim the kingdom of God and teach about Jesus with boldness.
In summary, Acts 28 shows how God protected and used Paul even in challenging circumstances. It also emphasizes the spreading of the message of Jesus to both Jews and Gentiles, with Paul being a faithful messenger despite opposition.
So let me encourage you, keep BLESSing others! Enjoy the adventure that is following Jesus to bring more light into our dark world!