13: Journey to Rome – Discussion Starters

  1. Journey to Rome. Paul, overflowing with God’s love to his Christian friends in Rome now faces the consequences of being arrested in Jerusalem and living under Roman custody. Not what he wanted, was it? Then he hears these words in vision, “Do not be afraid. You must stand before Caesar.” Caesar? “I’m going to Rome after all?” Yes. Paul boards the ship to Rome as a prisoner restrained by chains. Who is with him? Do you think Paul realizes he is nearing the end of his life–soon to become a martyr for Christ? But off to Rome he goes.
  2.  A story to remember. Why hasn’t a movie-maker put together a dramatic story showing Paul’s trip to Rome as a prisoner? By the time they launch the trip in the last part of October, the weather has turned wintry. Strong winds and bumpy waves slow the trip. At Sidon, a few miles north of Jerusalem, Paul receives a gift of provisions from friends there. Fighting heavy winds, the passengers are moved to a larger ship and then head into the open sea only to be caught in stormy weather and forced to abandon ship and swim to shore in Malta. You can read about this adventure in Acts 27.

  3. The journey to Rome. Paul, overflowing with God’s love to his Christian friends in Rome now faces the consequences of being arrested in Jerusalem and living under Roman custody. Not what he wanted, was it? Then he hears these words in vision, “Do not be afraid. You must stand before Caesar.” Caesar? “I’m going to Rome after all?” Yes. Paul, as a prisoner constrained by chains but with every ounce of courage intact, boards a ship to Rome. Luke is probably with him as his companion and guide. Does Paul realize he is nearing the end of his life–soon to become a martyr for Christ? Off to Rome he goes. 

  4. A story to remember. Why hasn’t a movie-maker put together a dramatic story showing Paul’s trip to Rome as a prisoner, from shipwreck to snakebite? By the time they launch the trip in the last part of October, the weather has turned wintry. Strong winds and bumpy waves slow the trip. Fighting heavy winds, the passengers are moved to a larger ship and then head into the open sea only to be caught in stormy weather and forced to abandon ship and swim to shore in Malta. What was the alternative plan that was not carried out? You can read about this adventure in Acts 27.

  5. The path to Rome. The above map indicates the long journey of more than 1500 miles from one end of the Mediterranean sea to the other. Imagine how you might feel as a passenger listening to Paul state with finality that there will be trouble on this journey. Was there? What near-disasters did Paul and his fellow travelers experience? Since God is so good and so strong, why didn’t He work a miracle at the start and give Paul and the others a safe trip? Did the hardships bring any gain to the passengers?
  6. Shipwreck. Let’s not forget that Paul was a prisoner. Even so, when he spoke, the crew listened. As the ship broke into pieces on a sandbar near the beach where the captain was heading, did the prisoners face death at the hands of the prison guard? Why or why not? What did Paul have to do with the fate of the passengers?
  7. Malta. Suddenly the trip comes to a stop on the island of Malta. Almost within site of Sicily and close to Italy, the ship deboards its passengers, and then another disaster is prevented. Wet and cold, not to mention tired and discouraged, the fire feels good. When Paul gets bitten by a poisonous snake, what do fellow passengers assume? How do you think this event served as a witness to strangers who saw what happened?
  8. Paul in Rome. Although a Roman citizen, Paul had never been to Rome before. How was he greeted? What did Paul share with his Roman acquaintances? What about the Jewish people who were there. Did they accept Paul as one their own? Why or why not?
  9. What happened next? How did Paul spend his last two years in Rome? Do you think he was happy that things had worked out so that he could be in that city, even as he was being held as a prisoner? Do you ever wish you could be set aside as a witness to others as Paul was? How can you and I have the confidence that we, too, could withstand chains and other punishments as Paul did because we put Christ first?
Amen!(0)

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Source: Daily Sabbath School Lessons