Malta’s Hospitality 28 1Once ashore, we then learned that the island was called Malta. 2The local people showed us extraordinary kindness, for they lit a fire and took us all in, since it was raining and cold. 3As Paul gathered a bundle of brushwood and put it on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat and fastened itself to his hand. 4When the local people saw the creature hanging from his hand, they said to one another, “This man is probably a murderer, and though he has escaped the sea, Justice[W] does not allow him to live!” 5However, he shook the creature off into the fire and suffered no harm. 6They expected that he would swell up or suddenly drop dead. But after they waited a long time and saw nothing unusual happen to him, they changed their minds and said he was a god.   Ministry in Malta   7Now in the area around that place was an estate belonging to the leading man of the island, named Publius, who welcomed us and entertained us hospitably for three days. 8Publius’s father was in bed suffering from fever and dysentery. Paul went to him, and praying and laying his hands on him, he healed him. 9After this, the rest of those on the island who had diseases also came and were cured. 10So they heaped many honors on us, and when we sailed, they gave us what we needed.   Rome at Last   11After three months we set sail in an Alexandrian ship that had wintered at the island, with the Twin Brothers[X] as its figurehead. 12Putting in at Syracuse, we stayed three days. 13From there, after making a circuit along the coast,[Y] we reached Rhegium. After one day a south wind sprang up, and the second day we came to Puteoli. 14There we found believers[Z] and were invited to stay with them for seven days. And so we came to Rome. 15Now the believers[A] from there had heard the news about us and had come to meet us as far as the Forum of Appius and the Three Taverns. When Paul saw them, he thanked God and took courage. 16When we entered Rome,[B] Paul was permitted to stay by himself with the soldier who guarded him.   Paul’s First Interview with Roman Jews   17After three days he called together the leaders of the Jews. When they had gathered he said to them: “Brothers, although I have done nothing against our people or the customs of our ancestors, I was delivered as a prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans. 18After they examined me, they wanted to release me, since I had not committed a capital offense. 19Because the Jews objected, I was compelled to appeal to Caesar; it was not as though I had any accusation against my nation. 20For this reason I’ve asked to see you and speak to you. In fact, it is for the hope of Israel that I’m wearing this chain.” 21Then they said to him, “We haven’t received any letters about you from Judea. None of the brothers has come and reported or spoken anything evil about you. 22But we would like to hear from you what you think. For concerning this sect, we are aware that it is spoken against everywhere.”   The Response to Paul’s Message   23After arranging a day with him, many came to him at his lodging. From dawn to dusk he expounded and witnessed about the kingdom of God. He tried to persuade them concerning Jesus from both the Law of Moses and the Prophets. 24Some were persuaded by what he said, but others did not believe. 25Disagreeing among themselves, they began to leave after Paul made one statement: “The Holy Spirit correctly spoke through the prophet Isaiah to your[C] ancestors 26when He said,   Go to these people and say: You will listen and listen, yet never understand; and you will look and look, yet never perceive. 27For the hearts of these people have grown callous, their ears are hard of hearing, and they have shut their eyes; otherwise they might see with their eyes and hear with their ears, understand with their heart, and be converted, and I would heal them.[D]   28Therefore, let it be known to you that this saving work of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will listen!” [29After he said these things, the Jews departed, while engaging in a prolonged debate among themselves.][E]   Paul’s Ministry Unhindered   30Then he stayed two whole years in his own rented house. And he welcomed all who visited him, 31proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching the things concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with full boldness and without hindrance.
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