Because of the Hope of Israel

Jesus appeared to Paul after he was imprisoned in Jerusalem in Acts 23:11 And the next night the Lord stood by him and said, “Have courage, for as you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome.” so Paul was intent on getting to Rome. Even so, Paul warned them of the trouble ahead, but they didn’t heed his warning. Now after the fourteenth night being driven on the sea by the storm, the sailors knew they were in grave danger coming close to land so wanted to take their chances getting off the ship. But now, they listened to Paul. Paul encouraged everyone. He prayed in front of everyone and broke bread and ate and they all ate also. In that moment, they all came together. Paul, this one man influenced the whole company and 276 lives were saved. In the end Paul was delivered to Rome by his captors, or it may be more correct to say that Paul’s captors survived because the hand of the Lord was delivering Paul to Rome. And as he arrives, he hears “concerning this sect it is known to us that it is spoken against everywhere” and he responds, “because of the hope of Israel I am wearing this chain!” and begins to tell them about Jesus Christ and his resurrection. And we also must sometimes press through difficulty before we get to the opportunity to share the truth of the hope of the gospel. 

I Believe God That It Will Be

Acts 27:27–38
Paul had encouraged them in Acts 27:19, but here in Acts 27:27 “the fourteenth night had come” and then some hope that they would find land, but it was very dangerous in the dark so in Acts 27:29 “they threw down four anchors”. Then the sailors, who had the skills, “were seeking to escape from the ship”. Well, everyone wanted off that ship! But Paul recognized the need for these sailors, and the soldiers stopped them in Acts 27:32. Again Paul is encouraging everyone in Acts 27:34 that “not a hair from your head will be lost” and in Acts 27:35 Paul “took bread, he gave thanks to God in front of them all, and after breaking it, he began to eat”. So, they all ate and threw overboard the remaining wheat which would have been the last of their cargo. And it is in the darkest moments that we see the stability of Paul and his faith in what God has promised him in Acts 23:11, that he would go to Rome and all souls on the ship would be saved in Acts 27:22-26.

They Held Course for the Beach

Acts 27:39–44
In Acts 27:39, they saw land, and a bay with a beach and running aground on the beach would have been a very good outcome at that point. So, in Acts 27:40 “slipping the anchors, they left them in the sea” they loosened the oars “And hoisting the foresail to the wind that was blowing, they held course for the beach”. But, in Acts 27:41 “they ran the ship aground” with the bow stuck and the waves hitting behind the ship was breaking apart. The breaking apart of the ship may have seemed disastrous to them but what was destruction of the ship became the parts for flotation they needed to get to shore. In Acts 27:42, “The plan of the soldiers was that they would kill the prisoners”, they would have enough trouble saving their own lives, but in Acts 27:43, the centurion “prevented them” and they all helped each other and in Acts 27:44 “all were brought safely to land”. There are times when we must resist our own reaction for self preservation to help those around us. 

The Local Inhabitants Showed Extraordinary Kindness

Acts 28:1–10
In Acts 28:1-2 They came to the island and it was day, but raining and cold “And the local inhabitants showed extraordinary kindness to us, for they lit a fire and welcomed us all (276 people stranded on the beach, wet, cold, and worn out from their journey). Then we learn something of their local beliefs. In Acts 28:4 “when the local people saw the creature hanging from his hand, they began saying* to one another, “Doubtless this man is a murderer whom, although he was rescued from the sea, Justice has not permitted to live!””. “Justice In Greek mythology, Justice was a goddess. The daughter of Zeus and Themis, she was believed to work circumstantially in establishing people’s fate”.1

And there are people today, that believe there is some force of justice that operates to punish you when you do wrong. Or, as happens here in Acts 28:6, if you are able to avoid this “Justice” you must be a god yourself. But this is not how God operates. Paul was simply demonstrating his authority as a christian, he was on a mission and was not to be stopped.

In fact, Paul went on in vs. 8 to demonstrate the healing power of God and in vs. 9, “the rest of those on the island who had diseases were coming and being healed also”. These people were hospitable to strangers, the believed and were healed, and in vs. 10, “They also honored us with many honors”.

After Three Months We Put Out to Sea

Acts 28:11–16
In Acts 28:11 Paul and those with him were not the only ones that “wintered at the island”. This ships captain had found a harbor and taken refuge so he and his ship were safe. But now, in Acts 28:12-14 they were on a normal route to Rome, although the winds were not in their favor so they made their way as they could. Once they were in Puteoli, it was by land the rest of the way, so the centurion may have needed to make arrangements for their arrival in Rome, in any case, they stayed a few days. Then we have this surprising statement in Acts 28:16, “And when we entered into Rome, Paul was allowed to stay by himself with the soldier who was guarding him.” Paul had great favor because “the centurion (would have) delivered the prisoners to the captain of the guard—the Praetorian Prefect, to whose custody … were committed all who were to come before the emperor for trial.”2

“The extension of this privilege to the apostle may have been due to the terms in which Festus wrote about him; but far more probably it was owing to the high terms in which Julius spoke of him, and his express intercession in his behalf … he would thus make the personal acquaintance of a great number of the Praetorian guard; and … the truth might thus penetrate to those who surrounded the emperor, as we learn, from Php 1:12, 13, that it did.”2 

Because of the Hope of Israel I am Wearing This Chain

Acts 28:17–22
In Acts 28:17 Paul “called together those who were the most prominent of the Jews” and he explains how he came into custody of the Romans, “from Jerusalem I was delivered as a prisoner into the hands of the Romans”. The Romans wanted to release him, but the Jews objected in vs.19 so Paul invoked his right as a Roman citizen to appeal to Caesar. Paul may have been surprised by their response in Acts 28:21 “We have received no letters about you from Judea, nor has any of the brothers come and* reported or spoken anything evil about you”. No one had communicated anything about Paul but, in vs 22, “concerning this sect it is known to us that it is spoken against everywhere” and they were willing to hear more from Paul.

This Salvation of God Has Been Sent to the Gentiles

Acts 28:23–31
In Acts 28:23 “many more came”, and Paul was “was explaining from early in the morning until evening, testifying about the kingdom of God and attempting to convince them about Jesus from both the law of Moses and the prophets”. And as always seemed to happen, in vs. 24 “some were convinced … but others refused to believe”. And, in vs. 25 “being in disagreement with one another”
In Acts 28: 26-27 Paul quotes Isaiah 6:9-10 and makes a powerful statement in Acts 28:28 “let it be known to you that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles. They also will listen!” and they did as in vs.30 “he stayed two whole years” in vs. 31 “proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching the things concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness, without hindrance”. And Paul’s message of salvation still goes to the Gentles today.

What is God’s plan for the salvation of others? Let us deliver that message.

Rome had its own set of problems with change in Caesars happening before Titus goes to Israel and destroys the temple some few years after Paul arrives in Rome.

Study Verses

Today’s Reading

  • Acts 27:27-44
  • Acts 28:1-31


  • 1. Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Ac 28:4). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
  • 2. Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 2, p. 220). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.