Paul's Arrival in Rome
"In that region there was an estate of the leading citizen of the island, whose name was Publius, who received us and entertained us courteously for three days. And it happened that the father of Publius lay sick of a fever and dysentery. Paul went in to him and prayed, and he laid his hands on him and healed him. So when this was done, the rest of those on the island who had diseases also came and were healed. They also honored us in many ways; and when we departed, they provided such things as were necessary" (Acts 28:7-10).

Based on the kindness the natives had already shown the shipwrecked lot, Publius very well may have extended the hospitality that he did even if he was unaware about Paul and the incident with the viper. However, Paul's perception as a "god" certainly would not diminish the level of kindness offered to the entire group. Although Luke does not record such, Paul no doubt took the opportunity to correct their mistaken notion of his identity sometime during the three months they wintered at the island. Paul, no matter where he is, rises to lead. There was an occasion for the Spirit of God to heal Publius' sick father (by means of the laying on of Paul's hands), and Paul was ready to serve (and, of course, teach). Miracles were not intended as an end unto themselves but as a proof of the divine origin of the message the speaker delivered (cf. Mark 16:20). Paul, who was not harmed by a lethal viper and who was able to heal diseases of any on the island, had the people's attention (including the shipwrecked lot). He preached the gospel of Christ here (as everywhere else) since he had an open door. When it was safe to travel the seas again, the group departed and were blessed with many honors and gifts from the natives (because of the apostle Paul, primarily). I suspect the Roman soldiers were glad they hadn't killed Paul and the other prisoners the day they came to Malta!

"After three months we sailed in an Alexandrian ship whose figurehead was the Twin Brothers, which had wintered at the island. And landing at Syracuse, we stayed three days. From there we circled round and reached Rhegium. And after one day the south wind blew; and the next day we came to Puteoli, where we found brethren, and were invited to stay with them seven days. And so we went toward Rome. And from there, when the brethren heard us, they came to meet us as far as Appii Forum and Three Inns. When Paul saw them, he thanked God and took courage. Now when we came to Rome, the centurion delivered the prisoners to the captain of the guard; but Paul was permitted to dwell by himself with the soldier who guarded him" (Acts 28:11-16).

The journey now continues north toward Rome. There are several stops along the way, and Paul is blessed to be able to meet some brethren on the journey, which was a great encouragement! The hospitality of brethren was warming. Brethren who heard Paul was coming to Rome traveled south and met him along the way. Paul thanked God for them and his courage was renewed. Even though he had likely not met any of these Christians before, there is great joy to be had in traveling to a new place and finding brothers and sisters in God's family! After finally arriving in Rome, Julius grants Paul the special privilege of being able to dwell in a house with a single soldier guarding him. The other prisoners were delivered to the captain of the guard. It appears this soldier would have been chained to Paul, and other soldiers would have relieved him at times. Those who served as Paul's guard would have had to listen to him speak and teach his visitors. It is in this manner that the gospel of Christ (and Paul's sufferings for such) would have been known to "the whole palace guard" (Phil. 1:13).

Paul had made it to Rome, as God had twice promised that he would (cf. Acts 23:11; 27:24). Although this is not how Paul would have preferred to arrive at "the eternal city" (as it was proudly called), he was there now and would make the best of his circumstances to glorify God and preach Jesus Christ and Him crucified!