Jesus’ Life: Chapter 23 – Paul’s Journey To Rome And Imprisonment
Having wintered on Malta for three months, Paul, his guards and companions set sail for Italy. They stopped over at Syracuse in Sicily and Rhegium before arriving at Puteoli (Pozzuoli), the great Roman centre for Alexandrian grain ships.
Paul remained in Puteoli for seven days with a group of Christian converts, undoubtedly celebrating together the “Breaking of Bread” many times, sharing their own conversion accounts to Christianity and listening to Paul’s teachings on the Gospel.
How heartening it must have been for Paul to set foot on Italian soil and be welcomed by Christians and perhaps celebrating two Sunday’s with them. The spread of God’s Word had gone before him, credit to the Apostles and other disciples.
The final stage of the journey was overland, some 150 miles. News of Paul’s pending arrival reached Rome in advance and members of the Christian community came out to meet him, waiting at different points along the road, some travelling an estimated 33 miles. (Ellicott’s Commentary)
Among them were possibly those whom he had known for several years and written to in his letters from Corinth. He once told them, “For I long to see you, so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you…, Thus I am eager also to preach the gospel to you who are in Rome”. (Romans 1:11, 15).
When he received their warm welcome along the road to Rome, a delighted Paul thanked God and with a renewed spirit became even more determined to fulfil Jesus’ plan, “to bear witness also at Rome”. (Acts 23:11). The multiple Jewish plots to kill him, imprisonment, shipwreck, a poisonous snake and many other perils along the way were no match for the power of God. (Acts 28:11-15)
A warm and respectful relationship developed between Paul and the Centurion, Julius. (Acts 27:1) He performed his duties well and remained courteous to Paul, his prisoner.
He listened to Paul’s advice on the ship and granted to him many favours including, allowing him to stay with Christian friends on the arduous journey.
I suspect Julius also converted to Christianity!
Lord Jesus, thank you for all the people in my life, those who understand and support me and those who are sometimes difficult to love. Help me to enlighten all and show each your presence in our midst. Amen.
Prayer: Victims of War (Pope St John Paul II)
To You, creator of nature and humanity, of truth and beauty, I pray:
Hear my voice, for it is the voice of the victims of all wars and violence among individuals and nations;
Hear my voice, for it is the voice of all children who suffer and who will suffer when people put their faith in weapons and war;
Hear my voice, when I beg you to instil into the hearts of all human beings the vision of peace, the strength of justice and the joy of fellowship;
Hear my voice, for I speak for the multitudes in every country and in every period of history who do not want war and are ready to walk the road of peace;
Hear my voice, and grant insight and strength so that we may always respond to hatred with love, to injustice with total dedication to justice, to need with the sharing of self, to war with peace.
O God, hear my voice and grant to the world your everlasting peace.