Once we were safe on shore, we learned that we were on the island of Malta.
The people of the island were very kind to us. It was cold and rainy, so they built a fire on the shore to welcome us and warm us.
As Paul gathered an armful of sticks and was laying them on the fire, a poisonous snake, driven out by the heat, fastened itself onto his hand.
The people of the island saw it hanging there and said to each other, "A murderer, no doubt! Though he escaped the sea, justice will not permit him to live."
But Paul shook off the snake into the fire and was unharmed.
The people waited for him to swell up or suddenly drop dead. But when they had waited a long time and saw no harm come to him, they changed their minds and decided he was a god.
Near the shore where we landed was an estate belonging to Publius, the chief official of the island. He welcomed us courteously and fed us for three days.
As it happened, Publius's father was ill with fever and dysentery. Paul went in and prayed for him, and laying his hands on him, he healed him.
Then all the other sick people on the island came and were cured.
As a result we were showered with honors, and when the time came to sail, people put on board all sorts of things we would need for the trip.
It was three months after the shipwreck that we set sail on another ship that had wintered at the island -- an Alexandrian ship with the twin gods a as its figurehead.
Our first stop was Syracuse, b where we stayed three days.
From there we sailed across to Rhegium. c A day later a south wind began blowing, so the following day we sailed up the coast to Puteoli.
There we found some believers, d who invited us to stay with them seven days. And so we came to Rome.
The brothers and sisters e in Rome had heard we were coming, and they came to meet us at the Forum f on the Appian Way. Others joined us at The Three Taverns. g When Paul saw them, he thanked God and took courage.
When we arrived in Rome, Paul was permitted to have his own private lodging, though he was guarded by a soldier.
Three days after Paul's arrival, he called together the local Jewish leaders. He said to them, "Brothers, I was arrested in Jerusalem and handed over to the Roman government, even though I had done nothing against our people or the customs of our ancestors.
The Romans tried me and wanted to release me, for they found no cause for the death sentence.
But when the Jewish leaders protested the decision, I felt it necessary to appeal to Caesar, even though I had no desire to press charges against my own people.
I asked you to come here today so we could get acquainted and so I could tell you that I am bound with this chain because I believe that the hope of Israel -- the Messiah -- has already come."
They replied, "We have heard nothing against you. We have had no letters from Judea or reports from anyone who has arrived here.
But we want to hear what you believe, for the only thing we know about these Christians h is that they are denounced everywhere."
So a time was set, and on that day a large number of people came to Paul's house. He told them about the Kingdom of God and taught them about Jesus from the Scriptures -- from the five books of Moses and the books of the prophets. He began lecturing in the morning and went on into the evening.
Some believed and some didn't.
But after they had argued back and forth among themselves, they left with this final word from Paul: "The Holy Spirit was right when he said to our ancestors through Isaiah the prophet,
'Go and say to my people, You will hear my words, but you will not understand; you will see what I do, but you will not perceive its meaning.
For the hearts of these people are hardened, and their ears cannot hear, and they have closed their eyes -- so their eyes cannot see, and their ears cannot hear, and their hearts cannot understand, and they cannot turn to me and let me heal them.' i28
So I want you to realize that this salvation from God is also available to the Gentiles, and they will accept it." j29k30
For the next two years, Paul lived in his own rented house. l He welcomed all who visited him,
proclaiming the Kingdom of God with all boldness and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ. And no one tried to stop him.
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)