Relevant Verses: Acts 27-28
Leading Question: Have you ever had someone who is a good person, but a bad traveling companion? What sort of a traveling partner would Paul have been?
1. Paul had always wanted to go to Rome. Now, he gets his chance, but it isn’t quite the journey he had hoped for. Luke, the author of Acts, travels with Paul. This helps to explain the many eyewitness details that are shared in these last two chapters of Acts.
What do you suppose it would have been like to travel with Paul? Would Luke have answered this question in the same way as Barnabas? Do you suppose Paul mellowed with age, or did he become even more set in his opinions?
Consistently throughout Luke and Acts, Roman centurions are depicted as men of character. Are there people of virtue and integrity that are not part of our faith community?
Over and over again in Paul’s experience, he is rescued from death. Yet, we know that many other followers of Jesus were not spared. Is this just a matter of chance? Does God protect truly important people that are faithful to him, or is there some other rationale God uses when deciding whether or not to intervene?
2. Once again, we must note the parallels between the experiences of Jesus and Paul. While on the ship, Paul “took some bread and gave thanks to God in front of them all. Then he broke it and began to eat” (Acts 27:35). Careful readers will note multiple parallels with the feeding of the 5,000, and also with the Last Supper.
Why would Luke present the story in such a way that these parallels are highlighted?
The Last Supper was part of a Jewish festival, shared between Jesus and 12 Jewish followers in an upper room. Here, on the upper deck of a heaving ship, Paul invites all 275 fellow travelers, from all different walks of life and all different religious backgrounds, to take and to eat. Now, the bread is given to all. In what ways does this act communicate the basic message of Acts as a whole?
3. Upon his arrival in Rome, Paul is met by fellow Jews, who listen to his message. Some were convinced, but others “would not believe” (Acts 28:24).
Is belief a choice? Is there a difference between a sincere person who wants to believe but cannot, and someone who could believe but chooses not to?
4. Acts concludes with Paul in Rome, guarded by a Roman soldier, boldly preaching “the kingdom of God” and teaching “about the Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 28:31).
Is this conclusion surprising in any way?
5. What has been your favorite insight from your study of Acts this quarter? What are the main lessons we should learn from this book? In what ways can Paul’s story become our story?