Safe and Bound (Acts 28:1-16)

Safe and Bound (Acts 28:1-16)


  • Everyone’s safely on shore.
  • Paul is still a prisoner. Safe, but God accomplishing his will in unexpected ways. That theme continues…

Read Acts 28:1-16

  • God is orchestrating everything, faithfully keeping his promise to bring Paul to Rome. But considering all that Paul has suffered, will question the Lord’s kindness?
  • In spite of Paul’s consistent character, you have to wonder when he breaks. PTSD after 4th shipwreck? Paul desperately needed to know the kindness of God.
  • And wouldn’t you know it…shortly after arriving safely on shore he is attacked by a snake.
  • Last week, Julius the centurion was kind to Paul. Now we see Maltese natives, Publius, and Christians in Italy showing him kindness.
  • Prepare for God to extend his kindness to you in unexpected ways through unexpected people.
    1. Showing Kindness to Unexpected People (1-6)
    2. Showing Kindness in Unexpected Ways (7-10)
    3. Receiving the Kindness of a Savior (11-16)

Showing Kindness to Unexpected People (1-6)

  • Safely on shore (1, cf. 27:44). According to God’s promise (27:24-25).
  • Native hospitality (2, “uncommon philanthropy”). Frequently cared for shipwrecked sailors.
  • Paul bitten(?) by a poisonous(?) snake (3).
  • Justice has caught up with the murderer (4).
  • Paul shook the snake off into the fire unharmed (5). Not snake handling (i.e., Mark 16:18).
  • When Paul didn’t drop dead, the fickle people thought he was a god (6).
  • Two misperceptions were corrected:
    1. Sailors assumption that the natives would take advantage of them.
    2. Natives assumption that Paul was a murderer.
  • Kindness from strangers is unexpected and sweeter.
  • There was a photo taken on a bus in Canada that went viral last year. A deaf man – with cerebral palsy – overwhelmed, requested to hold the hand of a 21y/o college student next to him, the young man obliged for the rest of the 30min. trip.
  • Obvious application: If you are bitten by a poisonous snake, just shake it off…
  • Are you in the habit of showing kindness to strangers? It’s not about getting recognition and your deed going viral. It’s about loving our neighbor as we love ourselves (even neighbors we don’t know).
  • How might God use you? Who can you show uncommon kindness to this week?

In addition to the natives showing kindness to strangers, Paul and the Maltese…

Showing Kindness in Unexpected Ways (7-10)

  • Publius, probably the governor of Malta, personally showed hospitality (7). How many of the 276 men did Publius take in for 3 days of lavish hospitality?
  • Done without any expectation of payment/favor.
  • When Paul discovered Publius’ father was sick (Malta Fever 4mos.), he healed him (8).
  • When news spread, Paul began healing all of the sick islanders (9).
  • In reciprocating gratitude, the Maltese people provide supplies (10).
  • This reminds me of Romans 12:10, “Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.”
  • But remember, these are not brothers outdoing one another in showing affection. They are pagan natives showing love and support to strangers.
  • Random acts of kindness are always heartwarming. Paying it forward has become a viral sensation. But why?
  • Humans, all of whom are created in the image of God, thrive in a community that cares.
  • Everyone needs a community that cares. You don’t have to be a Christian to acknowledge that.
  • When kindness is shown to you, do you respond with kindness?
  • Christians should be eager to reciprocate kindness by showing them, through our actions and words, the incredible hospitality of God (like Paul).
  • Who has God invited to his banqueting table? People from every tongue, tribe, and nation.

Whenever you are shown kindness, do you acknowledge that you are…

Receiving the Kindness of a Savior (11-16)

  • 3mos later they boarded another Alexandrian ship that had wintered on Malta and sailed for Rome (11-13).
  • Hospitality from brothers in Puteoli (14).
  • Roughly 3yrs prior, Paul wrote Romans. They were anticipating his arrival at some point (Rom. 1:11-13; 15:23-24).
  • Encouraged by meeting brothers who traveled 30-40mi to see them (15).
  • Paul stayed by himself with one guard rather than formal imprisonment (16).

Johnson, “With six soldiers daily serving four-hour watches at Paul’s side, it is no wonder that Paul could soon report that the whole Praetorian Guard, Caesar’s personal army, knew that Paul was in chains for Christ (Phil. 1:13).”

  • 2yrs earlier the Lord personally visited Paul to encourage him (23:11). Now, Paul received encouragement from the Lord through fellow-believers. The Lord is indeed showing Paul mercy in his time of need.
  • Paul didn’t always have the support of Christians while in Rome. During what was most likely a later imprisonment, Paul speaks of being alone (2 Tim. 1:15-17).
  • Often, what we need more than anything else is merely the presence of someone who cares. Do you take the time to empathize with those around you who are hurting?

When you have received that kind of care do you give thanks to God?


  • God has extended his kindness to Paul in unexpected ways through unexpected people. Isn’t he doing the same for you?
  • Although Paul remains in his chains, and his suffering is unlikely to end any time soon, he rests in the knowledge that he is united to his Savior for all eternity.
  • We who have been the recipients of such lavish kindness, cannot help but extend a Christ-like kindness to our Christian brothers and sisters, as well as our neighbors.
  • We long to see the church full of people who have both received and then extended the sacrificial kindness of our Savior.