As we get near the end of the Acts of the Apostles, we learn more about the shipwreck that Paul experiences (2 Cor 11:25; Acts 27). Even though Paul is held bound as a prisoner, it seems he feels like part of the team to make sure they have safe voyage. Paul does nothing to escape injustice. He has visitors who tell him that everyone will be safe on the ship.
The ship runs into sand which is underneath the ship, so the people on the boat must get to shore by themselves. The soldiers are planning on killing the prisoners to make sure they do not escape. But the centurion prevents them on Paul’s account. This shows us that the centurion cares about Paul. Paul is in his good graces. They have a relationship of trust. Now let’s stop and think about this. Paul, a prisoner of the centurion, has a relationship of trust and of working together with that very centurion. How many of us would be open to that kind of relationship? Only under Jesus can this be possible. Paul assumes the role of responsibility to make sure he gets to Rome, where he will witness to Jesus. To Paul, the centurion is there to help him. Man has its plan and Paul is not disturbed by it because God has His plan. Paul is determined to make it come about.
They end up spending the winter in Malta. There, the people of the island welcome everybody on the ship. Paul learns that the chief of the island’s father is sick. Paul cures the chief’s father and many others. When spring came, the rest of the trip went well.
Rome had no idea of who Paul was or the situation. They had not received word about Paul or any accusation about him. All they knew was that Paul belonged to a sect condemned by everyone around. So they listened to him for a day and some who heard were converted. Paul remained there for two more years.
There are many questions that arise about what Paul did in his two years in Rome. Many speculations are around, but we do know that he wrote letters to the Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, to Philemon, and a second letter to Timothy (2 Tim), as found in the New Testament. He was able to rent a place of his own as long as there was a guard there. He was also in chains the whole time. Many people did come to visit. There are some arguments that Paul could go and evangelize, though we are not sure of that.
Paul did have plans to visit others, but those visits never came about (Phil v22). But the Emperor Nero is said to have started a big fire in Rome that burnt down a good part of Rome. He blamed the Christians for it and had the Christians burned alive as depicted in the movie “Paul, Apostle for Christ.” By that time, Nero would have known about Paul and taken away his privileges. Paul was beheaded by Nero in 68AD. This would have been not too long before the Roman Empire swept the Holy Land and killed every Jew they could find. And just as Jesus had predicted (Mark 13:2), the Temple would be destroyed.
Paul’s seed had been planted. And Rome would eventually be converted.