Paul’s Journey to Rome
In Caesarea, Paul was tried before Governor Felix and kept for 2 years in prison. His friends were still able to visit him as the Governor could not decide what to do with Paul. Felix was replaced by Governor Festus and Paul was tried again. Paul told the governor he wanted to go to Rome and be tried before Caesar.
A few days later, King Agrippa and his sister came for a visit. Governor Festus had Paul come and speak to them. Paul preached to the king and governor telling them how he had met Jesus and explaining that Jesus died for people’s sins and risen from the dead. The king, his sister, and the governor discussed Paul’s problem. They believed him to be innocent of any wrong but since Paul had asked to be tried before Caesar, they could not let him go and sent him to Rome.
Paul and other prisoners were handed over to a Roman centurion named Julius. It was his responsibility to get Paul to Rome. Soldiers and the prisoners boarded a ship and headed for Asia. There were no ships that could take them all the way to Rome and they would have to travel on several different ships and make stops on the way. When the ship landed at Sidon, a town north of Caesarea, Julius showed kindness to Paul and allowed him to go visit friends before the ship sailed on.
They continued their journey on a different ship, sailing close to shore to avoid strong winds. They stopped near the island of Crete and Paul advised them not to try and go farther as winter was coming and the weather would be very unpredictable. Julius and the owner of the ship wanted to continue and decided it would be safe. A storm blew the ship off course and battered it so badly they feared the ship would break apart. The violence of the storm continued and the sailors threw the cargo overboard to try and make the ship less heavy but it did not help.
The storm was so bad the next day that the sailors could not see the sun by day or the stars at night. Most of the sailors and soldiers gave up hope of being saved. But Paul encouraged them and told them that God had sent an angel to assure him that everyone was going to survive. For two weeks the ship was at the mercy of the storm. Finally, the sailors saw that they were near land – driven completely off course and not knowing where they were. The ship ran into a sand bar some distance from land and was battered by the waves. Everyone had to abandon ship and swim to shore. As Paul had promised, everyone arrived safely on an island called, Malta.
The islanders built a fire to warm everyone. A poisonous snake slithered out of the wood and bit Paul. The islanders thought Paul would die but he did not. They were invited to stay at the home of Publius, the official on the island. The father of Publius was ill and Paul healed him. When islanders heard of this miracle, Paul healed other people on the island as word traveled about Paul. Three months later, a ship took Paul, the solders, prisoners, and sailors to Rome without further incidents.
Paul was kept under house arrest in Rome where he shared his faith with soldiers and anyone else who came to see him. His dream of going to Rome and sharing the good news of Jesus came true.
MAP OF PAUL'S JOURNEY TO ROMAN
Main route: Israel, Lebanon, Turkey, Crete, Malta, Sicily, Italy
Cities/places: 2250 miles
WHAT ARE THE LESSONS WE CAN LEARN FROM PAUL'S JOURNEYS?
Worship for July and August will focus on five of Paul’s letters as part of this journey.