Sunday, December 5, 2010

From Jerusalem to Rome

The Apostle Paul arrived in Ephesus in the fall of AD 54. In the Spring of AD 57 Paul writes what we know as the first letter to the Corinthian Church. In the summer months of AD 57 Paul leaves Ephesus and travels to Macedonia. While in Macedonia Paul probably visits the churches in Thessalonica, Berea, and the surrounding areas.

In the fall of AD 57 Paul is probably in Thessalonica where he writes what we know as the second letter to the Corinthian Church. In the winter of AD 57 the Apostle travels to Corinth where he visits the Corinthian to make sure everything is in order. He also is waiting for a ship in order to sail to Jerusalem. Some scholars (those who take the North Galatia theory) believe Paul wrote a letter to the Galatian Churches at this time. I (subscribe to the southern Galatian theory) think he has already written Galatians around AD 49.

Paul is finally able to catch a ship headed to Jerusalem in the summer of AD 58. He and Luke sail to Cos, Rhodes, and Patara. They sailed by Cyprus and landed at Tyre. Luke and Paul then sailed to Ptolemais and then landed in Caesarea. Paul finally arrived in Jerusalem.

While in Jerusalem, James, the Lord’s brother and Pastor of the Jerusalem Bible Church along with the elders prevail upon Paul to purify himself along with four other men and to pay the expenses of those Jews who had taken vows. James hoped that the Jews in Jerusalem who were hostile to Paul would see that Paul was not guilty of the things that he was being accused of.

When the seven days for the purification ceremony and vows were almost complete Jews from Asia stirred up the crowd and as a result Paul was arrested. The crowd wanted to stone Paul but the local tribune intervened with soldiers and prevented Paul from being killed. Paul was brought back to the barracks where he was held for a hearing.

Paul’s nephew became aware of a plot to kill Paul and relayed this information to the Tribune on Paul’s instruction. The tribune ordered two centurions to prepare two hundred foot soldiers, 70 cavalrymen, and two hundred spearman to take Paul to Caesarea and turn Paul over to Governor Felix.

Paul appeared before Felix and his accusers. Felix decided to wait for Lysias, the tribune to arrive in Caesarea. Felix and his wife Drusilla listened to Paul. Felix then delayed further hearings and left Paul under house arrest for two years. Paul’s friends were able to come and go, provide for his needs, and Paul was able to teach and preach. Eventually Felix was recalled and replaced by Porcius Festus.

When Festus arrived he eventually gave Paul a hearing. He determined that Paul was not guilty of any charge and wanted to turn him over to the Jews. Paul knew that course of event would result in his death. So, as a Roman citizen, he exercised a special right, he appealed his case to the Emperor in Rome.

Paul eventually sailed as a prisoner from Sidon to Myra to Cnidus to Crete. He warned he captain not to leave Crete but to wait for better weather. Paul was ignored and they sailed toward Cauda. They got caught in a massive storm and after two or three weeks of bad weather the ship was wrecked on the island of Malta. After three months they sailed to Syracuse (no not New York) and to Rhegium and then to Puteoli. Then Paul, Luke, Aristarchus, and the Roman guard traveled by foot to Rome.

Acts 28:16 says, “…when we came to Rome, Paul was allowed to stay by himself, with the soldier that guarded him.” Acts 28:30 says, “He (Paul) lived there two whole years at his own expense, and welcomed all who came to him, proclaiming the kingdom of God and preaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance.

One, who was welcomed to come to Paul and enter his rented house, was a Pastor Epaphras.

To be continued…


Larri said...

Gregg...very interesting. I didn't know all of this about Paul. Thanks for the great lesson! Sometimes I feel it would do me a world of good to go to Bible College. :o) Thanks for sharing your knowledge.


Something new I learned today Gregg, thanks for a most interesting post.


Anonymous said...

One of my favorite passages in the New Testament is Paul's discussion with King Agrippa:

Acts 26:28-29
Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You almost persuade me to become a Christian.” And Paul said, “I would to God that not only you, but also all who hear me today, might become both almost and altogether such as I am, except for these chains.”

The Holy Spirit certainly gave Paul the right words to say in a bad situation. And if we trust Him, He will do the same for you and me.

Cathy M. said...

It's amazing to think of everything God accomplished through Paul while he was imprisoned. Interesting post, Brother Greg.