The Holy Spirit’s Travelling Ministry
Eventually, Paul was put on a ship for Rome, as we can read in Acts 27:1
When it was decided that we would sail for Italy, Paul and some other prisoners were handed over to a centurion named Julius, who belonged to the Imperial Regiment.
Unfortunately, he and those with him suffered a shipwreck, as foretold by Paul in Acts 27:21-26
After the men had gone a long time without food, Paul stood before them and said, “Men, you should have taken my advice not to sail from Crete; then you would have spared yourselves this damage and loss. But now I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed. Last night an angel of the God whose I am and whom I serve stood beside me and said, “Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar; and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you." So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me. Nevertheless, we must run aground on some island.”
Thankfully, all the people on board, including Paul, were able to swim ashore when that eventually happened, as we can read in Acts 27:42-44
The soldiers planned to kill the prisoners to prevent any of them from swimming away and escaping. But the centurion wanted to spare Paul’s life and kept them from carrying out their plan. He ordered those who could swim to jump overboard first and get to land. The rest were to get there on planks or on pieces of the ship. In this way everyone reached land in safety.
While on the little island of Malta, Paul was bitten by a snake, as we can read in Acts 28:3-6
Paul gathered a pile of brushwood and, as he put it on the fire, a viper, driven out by the heat, fastened itself on his hand.
Initially, the people thought he must be a criminal, but when he did not die because of the bite, they decided he must be a god, as we can read in Acts 28:4-6
When the islanders saw the snake hanging from his hand, they said to each other, “This man must be a murderer; for though he escaped from the sea, justice has not allowed him to live.” But Paul shook the snake off into the fire and suffered no ill effects. The people expected him to swell up or suddenly fall dead, but after waiting a long time and seeing nothing unusual happen to him, they changed their minds and said he was a god.
There truly is nothing new under the sun; people were fickle then and people are fickle today…. In the meantime Paul began to minister to the people, and many people were healed, including the father of a man named Publius, as we can read in Acts 28:7-9
There was an estate nearby that belonged to Publius, the chief official of the island. He welcomed us to his home and for three days entertained us hospitably. His father was sick in bed, suffering from fever and dysentery. Paul went in to see him and, after prayer, placed his hands on him and healed him. When this had happened, the rest of the sick on the island came and were cured. They honoured us in many ways and when we were ready to sail, they furnished us with the supplies needed.
After three months, they found another ship that was able to take them to Rome, as we can read in Acts 28:11
After three months we put out to sea in a ship that had wintered in the island. It was an Alexandrian ship with the figure head of the twin gods Castor and Pollux.
Eventually, Paul arrived in Rome, as we can read in Acts 28:16
When we got to Rome, Paul was allowed to live by himself, with a soldier to guard him.
Here too, he had opportunity to preach the gospel to Jews as well as to Gentiles, as we can read in Acts 28:30-31
For two whole years Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him. Boldly and without hindrance he preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.
He lived in Rome for two years before being released because of lack of evidence against him. Some years later, Paul was imprisoned once again, and at that time he was beheaded.
The Book of Acts is truly the Book of the Acts of the Holy Spirit who, either overtly or covertly, directed the believers. Wherever He was at work, we have seen Him do a number of things:
1. He convicted people of their sins and had them come to faith in Christ Jesus.
2. He exposed the hardness of hearts of others.
3. He healed people.
4. He delivered people from demonic spirits.
The Holy Spirit is not less powerful today and will do the same work through us today, if we are willing and obedient.