Three months after Paul’s shipwreck and their arrival at Malta, the weather settled enough for ships to sail again. That was probably about the first of February. Another ship from Alexandria had wintered there and everyone from the wrecked ship boarded this vessel and resumed their journey to Rome.
The ship sailed about eighty miles and landed at Syracuse on the island of Sicily and stayed there three days. After battling the wind again, the ship reached Rhegium. From there it sailed to its port of destination, Puteoli on the mainland of Italy and the principal port for Alexandrian and Italian trade.
Paul met with some of the Christians at Puteoli and they asked that he stay seven days. That period of time would allow them to worship together on the next Lord’s Day.
Since Puteoli was the end of the line for the ship, the centurion with his soldiers and prisoners probably walked the remaining distance from there to Rome. As they reached Appii Forum and Three Inns, they met other Christians from Rome who had been informed of Paul’s journey by those of Puteoli. That was very encouraging to him and he thanked God for their presence.
When they reached Rome the centurion turned the prisoners over to the captain of the guard. Paul’s conduct on the voyage from Caesarea earned him favors that other prisoners could not enjoy. He was permitted to live in his own rented house—but always chained to a guard.
Paul had finally reached Rome about two and one-half years after writing the letter to them telling of his intentions. He was with some of his friends from earlier years and had begun to make new friends.
After only three days, Paul called a meeting of the chief Jews of Rome and explained his case to them. They stated that they had neither received letters (charges) nor had heard anything evil about him. However, they said that they wanted to hear what he thought because, “Concerning this sect, we know that it is spoken against everywhere.”
When the set time arrived, many of the Jews met at Paul’s house and he preached Christ. He started with the Law of Moses, related the prophecies of Christ’s coming and preached the complete gospel of Christ. The Jews were divided after hearing Paul’s teaching. Some believed, but probably most closed their ears and eyes and refused to accept his explanation of the gospel.
As was Paul’s custom, he had preached to the Jews first and after their refusal to believe, he quoted from Isaiah and told them that he would turn to the Gentiles. When the meeting ended, the Jews left and had a great dispute among themselves.
Paul lived the next two years as a prisoner in his own rented house. He had the freedom to write and to receive, “All who came to him, preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence, no one forbidding him.”
As we complete the book of Acts, we also end the study of most of Paul’s travels. He spent most of the remainder of his life in confinement, teaching and writing to various churches and individuals. The works of the other New Testament writers and other letters of Paul follow in chronological order.