v2 Another way that the natives are referred to (in other translations) is by use of the words barbarians or island people. This simply means that they were foreign or different (in looks, speech and culture) from those who had been shipwrecked.
- Their hospitality went beyond what was normally done by most people. They recognized the needs of those who had been shipwrecked.
v4 Their thoughts are in line with a wrong theology which states that bad things happen to bad people and good things happen to good people. Eccl 9:11-12 tells us that things happen – it could be a simple thing of just being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Time and chance caused this snake to bite Paul. However, G-d can use time and chance to fulfill His purpose and turn it into a message.
v6 People who had been bitten by this snake before (in their experience) had died shortly thereafter. Now seeing that Paul was still alive they changed their perspective (from what they believed in verse 4).
- This testimony of G-d’s sovereignty (turning a bad situation to good) opened up an opportunity for Paul to explain about G-d.
v7 Publius was the chief leader (of greatest priority) in Malta. He invited Paul and his companions to stay for 3 days with him. Here again this is a fulfillment of the prophecy that Paul would speak before leaders of nations.
v9 The testimony of Messiah Yeshua and His healing power could be proclaimed – not just healing from physical disease but also spiritual healing through the forgiveness of sins.
v10 These individuals were healed in order to serve. They were healed to meet the needs of others (loving their neighbors as they loved themselves) we see the hand of G-d in all these circumstances
Notice that throughout chapter 28 there is a repetition of the number 3. Three, Biblically, speaks of revealing something/revelation.
v11 It was not safe to travel in the Med in wintertime – especially long distances.
- Sailing was dangerous so often times a false god of the sailors marked the boats that they sailed in. These “good luck” charms and symbols have no effect or power over us so we need not fear them.
v12 G-d is communicating/revealing things to us through these journeys and stops. We will miss out on revelation if we see these accounts as simply travel logs.
v13 The Southern wind is a good wind for sailing.
v14 Brethren =fellow believers. “And so we went toward Rome ” does not mean that they had reached the city of Rome yet. They had arrived in the region of Rome – it means that they had arrived in Italy.
v15 The Appius Forum was a place of commerce – a marketplace. The Three (again repeated) Taverns was a place of refreshment – a place to get provision and sustenance. Paul saw that G-d was providing, even here, for his physical needs and he was encouraged by that
v16 Here we see Paul actually reaching the city of Rome.
- Paul was treated differently to other prisoners. He was allowed to remain in some type of residence – probably like an apartment today.