Jesus’ Life: Chapter 23 – Paul’s Journey To Rome And Imprisonment
Paul remained in Rome under house arrest for two years. In that time, he continued to welcome all who wished to meet him at his rented home and helped to guide the Christian community in Rome. He also, through his many writings and Letters, maintained contact with the Ephesians, Colossians, Philemon and Philippians.
What happened to Paul after his two-year imprisonment is unclear. Many believe that he regained his freedom and went on another Missionary Journey before being rearrested and imprisoned back in Rome. That was the firm belief of early Church writers including, Chrysostom, Jerome and Eusebius.
Indications of places that Paul may have visited come from his final Letters. They include, Crete (Titus 1:5), Corinth (2 Timothy 4:20), Miletus (2 Timothy 4:20), Macedonia – possibly Philippi (1 Timothy 1:3), Colossae (Philemon 1:22), Troas (2 Timothy 4:13), Ephesus (1 Timothy 3:14; 4:13) and Nicopolis (Titus 3:12). It has also been suggested that Paul may have visited Spain (Clement of Rome) and even Britain.
What is more certain is his beheading during Nero’s period of Christian persecution from 67 AD. It followed the great fire of Rome which is said to have burnt for over a week. At the time, Paul knew his death was near saying, “For I am already being poured out as an offering, and the time for me to depart is at hand”. (2 Timothy 4:6)
St Luke remained with Paul until the end but many others abandoned him, possibly to avoid Nero’s persecution. (2 Timothy 1:16-17)
In a moment of uncharacteristic irony, “like a fool”, Paul wrote of himself:
“I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again.
Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one.
Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move.
I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers.
I have laboured and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked.
Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn?
If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness. The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, who is to be praised forever, knows that I am not lying”. (2 Corinthians 16-33) (Acts 28:25-31)
Paul saw the very nucleus of the Gospel in the following three sayings of Jesus:
- “The Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many”. (Mark 10:45)
- “I did not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance”. (Lk. 5:32) and
- “The Son of Man came to seek and save the lost”. (Lk. 19:10).
Grant O merciful God, that I may ardently desire, carefully examine, truly know and perfectly fulfil those things that are pleasing to You and to praise and glorify Your holy name. (St Thomas Aquinas)
Prayer: Working (Jacob Boehme)
Give me, dear Lord, a pure heart and a wise mind,
that I may carry out my work according to your will.
Save me from all false desires,
from pride, greed, envy and anger,
and let me accept joyfully every task you set before me.
Let me seek to serve the poor
the sad and those unable to work.
Help me to discern honestly my own gifts
that I may do the things of which I am capable,
and happily and humbly leave the rest to others.
Above all, remind me constantly that I have nothing except what you give me,
and can do nothing except what you enable me to do.