Tuesday, December 12, 2023
When the time came, we set sail for Italy. Paul and several other prisoners were placed in the custody of a Roman officer named Julius, a captain of the Imperial Regiment. Aristarchus, a Macedonian from Thessalonica, was also with us. We left on a ship whose home port was Adramyttium on the northwest coast of the province of Asia; it was scheduled to make several stops at ports along the coast of the province.
The next day when we docked at Sidon, Julius was very kind to Paul and let him go ashore to visit with friends so they could provide for his needs.
Notice that Luke indicated his presence with Paul by using the term "we."* Luke and Aristarchus were both with Paul for this hard journey and imprisonment.** One of the interesting things we will see with Paul on this journey is that he gained and maintained a good relationship with those who had responsibility for him and power over him. Julius was the Roman officer in charge, and in a very short time, he trusted Paul and cared enough for him to let him see friends and allow them to tend to his needs.*** While the political situation between Romans and Jews in Jerusalem and Judea was beginning to deteriorate rapidly, Paul maintained a friendly and proper relationship with his Roman captors. They often showed him great kindness and respect on this arduous trip to Rome. Paul practiced what he preached:
Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone (Romans 12:17–18).
* See our first set of Related Scripture Readings for examples of Luke's "we sections" in Acts.
** See our second set of Related Scripture Readings that show Aristarchus accompanied Paul throughout his Roman imprisonment, as he had earlier.
*** Julius' relationship with Paul is an additional example that Luke gave us of Roman officials being fairer in their actions than Jewish officials. Previous examples can be seen in the Unstoppable devotionals for October 28, July 9, and May 27.
Father, I thank you for the close friends in Christ that Luke and Aristarchus were to the apostle Paul. Their faithfulness stirs me to be more attentive and supportive of others who are going through hardship. I am also challenged by Paul's relationships with and influence on those in charge of his arrest and protection. Open my heart and give me wisdom so that I can be a blessing to all people, even those who may not be predisposed to like me or treat me well. I want to point others around me to Jesus regardless of my circumstances. I ask this in Jesus' name. Amen.
Unstoppable! is a one-year devotional guide through the book of Acts. Each devotional consists of a scripture passage, a reflection and a prayer. The reflection opens up the day's scripture and shows how it challenges one to live for Jesus.
Unstoppable! is written by Phil Ware.
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
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