Untidy Faith

Acts 27-28 | Lanie Walkup and Elisa Preston

March 28, 2022 Kate Boyd ⎜ Writer, Speaker, Bible Teacher, Biblical Community Coach Season 5 Episode 14
Acts 27-28 | Lanie Walkup and Elisa Preston
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Untidy Faith
Acts 27-28 | Lanie Walkup and Elisa Preston
Mar 28, 2022 Season 5 Episode 14
Kate Boyd ⎜ Writer, Speaker, Bible Teacher, Biblical Community Coach

We finish our journey through the book of Acts today, and what a journey it has been!

About Today's Contributors:

Lanie is a born and raised Texan who made her way to the Midwest 8 years ago and is still learning how to survive Chicago winters. She is a seminary student at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, working on her Masters of Divinity, a Greek teaching fellow, and an aspiring New Testament scholar and teacher.  She has spent time church planting in Southeast Asia, researching global disciple making movements, and is passionate about equipping ordinary disciples to study, obey, and share the word of God with their neighbors. She also has a podcast called VBS: Venturing Beyond Seminary, with other seminary students, exploring questions at the intersection of the academy and the church. In her free time you can find her reading non-fiction (usually NT studies), baking, or finding the best food and coffee around Chicago with her husband. You can connect with her on Twitter @laniewalkup.

Elisa is an author and podcaster of Praise Through It, where she talks about seeing old burdens in a new way. She’s an Army wife of almost 16 years, a dog mom of 8 years, and a girl mom of 6 years. She’s a certified Enneagram coach who loves helping people understand people. She loves baking (& eating) chocolate chip cookies and playing games with her family. She’d spend all her time in the sunshine if she could. You can connect with Elisa on her blog, on Facebook, on Twitter, and on Instagram.

Are you disentangling your faith from the culture around you? The greatest tool in that journey for me was the Bible itself. You’ve probably noticed that here on the show we love the Bible, and we take it seriously - but not always literally, and that means that meaning can get a little complicated. But you don’t have to let that overwhelm you. I’ve put together the Big Picture Toolkit to help you understand how all of Scripture fits together in one incredible story, learn some new questions to ask to get at meaning without getting overwhelmed, and see new connections between Old and New Testaments with a special Bible Reading Plan. If you’re ready to get back to basics of your faith, the Bible is a great place to start, and the Big Picture Bible Toolkit can help. Grab yours today free at kateboyd.co/bible.

Kate Boyd - Book | Newsletter | Instagram | Twitter

Show Notes Transcript

We finish our journey through the book of Acts today, and what a journey it has been!

About Today's Contributors:

Lanie is a born and raised Texan who made her way to the Midwest 8 years ago and is still learning how to survive Chicago winters. She is a seminary student at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, working on her Masters of Divinity, a Greek teaching fellow, and an aspiring New Testament scholar and teacher.  She has spent time church planting in Southeast Asia, researching global disciple making movements, and is passionate about equipping ordinary disciples to study, obey, and share the word of God with their neighbors. She also has a podcast called VBS: Venturing Beyond Seminary, with other seminary students, exploring questions at the intersection of the academy and the church. In her free time you can find her reading non-fiction (usually NT studies), baking, or finding the best food and coffee around Chicago with her husband. You can connect with her on Twitter @laniewalkup.

Elisa is an author and podcaster of Praise Through It, where she talks about seeing old burdens in a new way. She’s an Army wife of almost 16 years, a dog mom of 8 years, and a girl mom of 6 years. She’s a certified Enneagram coach who loves helping people understand people. She loves baking (& eating) chocolate chip cookies and playing games with her family. She’d spend all her time in the sunshine if she could. You can connect with Elisa on her blog, on Facebook, on Twitter, and on Instagram.

Are you disentangling your faith from the culture around you? The greatest tool in that journey for me was the Bible itself. You’ve probably noticed that here on the show we love the Bible, and we take it seriously - but not always literally, and that means that meaning can get a little complicated. But you don’t have to let that overwhelm you. I’ve put together the Big Picture Toolkit to help you understand how all of Scripture fits together in one incredible story, learn some new questions to ask to get at meaning without getting overwhelmed, and see new connections between Old and New Testaments with a special Bible Reading Plan. If you’re ready to get back to basics of your faith, the Bible is a great place to start, and the Big Picture Bible Toolkit can help. Grab yours today free at kateboyd.co/bible.

Kate Boyd - Book | Newsletter | Instagram | Twitter

Kate Boyd:

You're listening to happy and holy the podcast where scripture comes to life through a small group discussion. This season, we're walking through the birth of the church in the book of Acts. And you get to be a fly on the wall to see what new things we learn with and from one another, as we engage scripture in community. I'm your host, Kate Boyd. I'm a disciple maker, writer and speaker, who is making space in the church for Christians caught in the messy middle between conservative and progressive, between leaving the church and leaving. We love Jesus, love people and work with God and each other for a better world. Welcome to the show. Are you disentangling your faith in the culture around you? The greatest tool in that journey for me was the Bible. You probably noticed that here on the show, we love the Bible. And we take it very seriously. But we don't always take it literally. And that means that meaning can get a little complicated. But all of its complexity doesn't have to overwhelm you. And that's why I put together the big picture Bible toolkit. It will help you understand how all of Scripture fits together in one incredible story will also let you learn some new questions to ask to get at meaning without getting overwhelmed. And you'll see new connections between the Old Testament and the New Testament with a special Bible reading plan. If you're ready to get back to the basics of your faith, the Bible is a great place to start. And the big picture Bible toolkit will help you do that. Grab yours today, for free at Kate boyd.co/bible. Now, let's get back to X. Welcome everybody back to happy and holy. And today we are closing out our time in the book of Acts, which is it's been quite a journey. And so I'm sad to part ways with all these people in the book, but I have some friends who are gonna help me do it. And so Alisa, why don't you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Elisa Preston:

Sure. Thank you. I'm so excited to do this. This was a lot of fun preparing for I'm Elisa, I live up in Western New York. And this is where I'm from, but I just got back last year after living down south for 15 years. So technically, this is my second winter back. But it's gonna take me a whole lot longer to get used to being cold again. So I have one daughter, and my husband's in the army, and he's a pilot. And we have one dog. And I wish it was sunny all the time. And I baked chocolate chip cookies every three to four days because I eat them in between me in a nutshell.

Kate Boyd:

Whoa. Well, thanks for introducing yourself. Laney tell us about you.

Lanie Walkup:

Hi, thanks for having me on. today. I'm really excited to talk about the end of this really exciting book. I'm Laney I am from Texas. But I moved to Chicago about eight years ago. And I'm a seminary student studying to get my M div. But with a special concentration in the New Testament. I'm currently a full time student but I've spent time church planting and I'm also a Greek Teaching Fellow. So I teach elementary Greek a to masters students at my seminary. So that's kept me really busy this year. But it's really fun. And I've really enjoyed it.

Kate Boyd:

Nice. Well, I'm excited to have you guys here and yeah, to close out acts like you said, Laney it's a very exciting book. And we've had a lot of like, there's a lot of twists and turns. And so and even we'll even see some of that I think a lot of people are familiar with, you know, the stories that we'll cover. But yeah, there's a lot of things don't go according to plan. And so to kick us off Elisa, why don't you tell us give us a quick recap of what happens in chapter 27 Sure, twists

Elisa Preston:

and turns is a really great way to put it because of how much trouble they had on the sea. So how is with Luke and air circus? Is that how I say that? Or circus plus a captain and some ship crew and some prisoners and they're all going for Rome. And he's in trouble for all his gospel work. He wasn't really posing any kind of military threat, but he was pretty revolutionary and trying to change a lot of things that they had done. So he was in trouble. Um, they likely sailed to Rome because sailing would have been a lot cheaper than going by land. And that's what I looked into which we can go into later. It was a really dangerous time to sail. In the Bible. I have they have fast in with a capital F and so what that's what we know is Bianca por so it was like late fall and through the winter. And so the waters were just super wild and unruly and dangerous. And they made about a third of their journey and like a medium sized ship, and then they switch to an Alexandrian ship, which was like a large green or a cargo ship. But that did not really helped them when it came to getting through all the winds and waves that they had to. And Paul tried to warn them several times that we shouldn't be doing this, but they didn't listen. They really wanted to make it to the island of Crete to a harbor name to Phoenix to winter there, but they never did, because they were just tossed all over the place. They made it to Crete, just not Phoenix. And so they had a short reprieve in Crete. But it didn't last very long. The wind was literally the very opposite of what they needed, and where they were headed. So they were traveling Northeast, and the wind was coming at them from the southwest. And that storm went, um, that storm went on for about two weeks. And they even had to throw some of the ships gear off the boat in order to lighten it. This all sounds very scary to me. I mean, I love being on the water. But it sounded so scary. And the scripture says that they saw neither son nor stars as the storm capture aging, and they were losing hope. And then Paul stood up and basically said, y'all really should have listened to me. But this is what we can do. So he was able to just kind of keep their spirits up. So even though he said I told you, so he shared a vision that he had had. And then angel told him that they didn't have to be afraid he was gonna stand before Caesar because God had anointed that. So they didn't have to worry that they were all going to make it. But they would have to run aground on a certain island. So after two weeks of that storm, they finally saw some land. They did this special way of measuring the depth of the water to see how far away from landed they were. And so they they dropped anchors from the back in a skiff from the front of the boat, like a little rescue boat, but then some of the prisoners were trying to escape. So they cut that off. Because of the prisoners escaped, then the sailors that were in charge of them could have faced at death. And at the end, daylight comes and Paul lovingly encourages everyone to eat to nourish themselves, because they had been basically seasick for two weeks. And that is a sorry. And then they begin lightening the load again, they had already thrown gear overboard, but this time they threw grain overboard. And finally they hit a sandbar and they wrecked. And they just kind of had to stay where they were. And so they get to an island that is named in chapter 28. And I will let lightning talk about that.

Kate Boyd:

Awesome. Yeah, I mean, exactly. It twists and turns. This is kind of a I can't imagine what it's like to sort of go through all of this. I mean, it's, you're already say you're Paul, you're already in prison. And now you're like on this really harrowing journey at sea? Through a lot of different places. And all that ends with a shipwreck of all things like it's really wild Laney what sort of as they started their journey, you know, before the storm even happens, and what are some of the things of that part of the story that really kind of stood out to you? Yeah, so

Lanie Walkup:

I was super struck by what actually is the last line of verse Earth chapter 26, where Agrippa said to Festus, this man could have been released if he had not appealed to Caesar. And, and it kind of shocked me that, oh, they did not have to go through the shipwreck. He didn't have to go to Rome, if he had not appeared appealed to Caesar. But just whether it was Paul's own doing or the Holy Spirit, or, yeah, just the providence of God that directed Paul to appeal to Caesar and then carry them through this storm. lead them to Malta, which is in chapter 28, and then finally land in Rome. I think we just we just see like the word of God cannot be stopped. And this mission of God is. Yeah, it's going to happen, whether it's through shipwreck in through these chapters, we see countless forces trying to stop and thwart this plan. But over and over again, it's God is carrying Paul called goddess carrying his word forth to these different islands and then eventually to Rome. And I was just struck by that. That last line in verse 26, and how it kind of helps us see this. This power of of the Word of God that keeps going forth, because of Paul's determination.

Kate Boyd:

And the problem, yeah, God. Yeah. I'm always struck, and especially maybe during the storm part, which we'll talk in a little bit, just like the confidence of Paul. I mean, in the last chapters, he's out there, you know, defending himself and preaching and all that. And that's sort of what leads to this. And, and that he's just able to kind of like, hang in there. I don't know, like I, I feel like if I was confronted with all the things that Paul was confronted with, I probably would I probably would have quit a long time ago. He was very committed. Yeah, I just don't have that same sense. Maybe not yet that same resilience. And at least so you looked in to like the actual travel stuff, right?

Elisa Preston:

I did. So I was struck mostly by the storm and how little they knew, like I was really reading it with my 21st century brain, and just thinking, but they had no maps, they didn't know, like, where to go. And I mean, I know that obviously, this was written far before the 21st century. But just thinking about that, and how much they had to pay attention to what they were uncertain of, and they had to pay attention to things that they could not control. And so they had to be okay with the fact that this could change at any moment. And I'm just going to go on what God told me and what I see before me. And that's what really struck me. And so when I was looking into the map portion of it, because they had just had no maps, it's approximately 1500 miles from Jerusalem to Rome, and seafaring was in their blood, basically, I mean, that was how most people traveled back then, and seafaring would have been cheaper than going over land. But when you when they would go by sea, they went by the land that they could visually see. So they would try to stay close to land. Well, that didn't happen in x 27, because they got so thrown off course. And so they just kind of had to trust that they would get where they needed to be. And when they made it to Crete, they could figure out where they were. But still, they just went so far, without a map or without knowing where they were. But even if they had had a map, this is what I looked into maps at that point, were basically to show where the map drawer was in the world, and to show like the empires in the Kings taking over land and to show their power over people. And so they use the stars, which again, Paul in the captain, it couldn't see them, right. But maps at that time, they weren't to show directions. They were not to show travel routes, they were just to show like expansion of territory, which I found really interesting. And then much, much, much, much later maps were like people created trap maps, do you know what that is? No, they would create a fake map with fake streets and fake landmarks. So that people, like, you know, wouldn't know where they were couldn't plagiarize it. So that was what really struck me was the navigation and how they just had to go by the stairs, but then couldn't see the stars. So they just had to go by faith. And Roman Empire law actually prohibited sailing during that time of the year. But the oceans in classical law, were not territorial. So the law was likely never enforced. The Roman Empire just had laws, because they knew they were in charge, and they could have them. But not all of them were followed. So

Kate Boyd:

that's so interesting, I think, to me, too, what struck me is like how long all of this would have taken, like, as I was reading, and they're talking about how, you know, they didn't travel after the, they didn't want to travel after the fast because that's like, when the sea is really bad. And it's bad for like, six months. So wherever they were going to winter, they were going to winter for six months, before they even set sail to finish the journey to Rome was like, gosh, it's gonna take, you know, like a year to even get where they're trying to go. And that just feels like, I don't know, so much waiting and so much time. Again, with my like, you were saying with my 21st century brain was like when we could just like, take an airplane, right? And be there and half a day from where we are in the world. But here they are making this whole journey for like six months. That's just the waiting part. So at least a year. Gosh, that's just like a really long, that's a really long time.

Elisa Preston:

But he was committed. Yeah, that was his thing. And like you said, Laney, the word of God will not be stopped and Paul was just all about it, and he was going to do whatever he took or whatever it took. I just thought about that and contrast to how maps at that time were very egocentric, and how that was the absolute opposite of Paul's mission and what he wanted to do. So, again, just no need for the map, I guess. I need an app.

Lanie Walkup:

I think you drawing out this the danger going involved in this ship sailing and, and all that reframes Paul's actions and his care for the people on the boat, also in a new light, like he is a prisoner, he is at their mercy, and they do want to kill him eventually, which we see at the end of chapter 27. Yet he acts in such a way as to help them try to preserve their lives, care for them, and then eventually, host this Eucharist like meal on the boat, which is seems so misplaced, but it's just a really cool view, I think of Paul's love, even for his his

Elisa Preston:

cap his captors.

Lanie Walkup:

One commentary, I was reading said, like, the people on the boat, the centurions, and the guards, they don't really like even though they're his captors, they don't realize that they're actually caught up in Paul's mission, the mission of God that they're taking him and helping him spread the word of God to Rome. I thought that was really cool.

Elisa Preston:

That is really cool.

Kate Boyd:

Yeah. And I mean, and even on sort of that note how he's treating them, despite, you know, like, if someone had not taken my advice, and then things go badly, um, you know, like, I told you, you know, like, yeah, content for that. And like you said, in this in the storm, part of the episode, you know, when they're throwing stuff over, and they're trying to keep it together, he's the one thing you know, what we're gonna be okay. You know, and let me take care of you. And let's all eat and focus, you know, whatever. I don't know, I'm not that sanctified yet, I don't think but

Elisa Preston:

it was just a really great mix of faithfulness to what he knew God had told him, and then practicality, which he was also all about, you know, he, yeah, in that commitment, I think he was just really practical. You know, this is where we're going, this is what we need to do. And here are the five steps for us to be able to do that. So I think that the mix of those two contributed to the care and you know, what he was able to help the prisoners with? On the ship?

Kate Boyd:

Yeah. So yeah, let's talk a little bit about how he helped or in the middle of this storm, and how they're sort of dealing with all of this and trying to find land or you know, how to even net you don't, the things you would use to navigate land or stars are gone? And, I mean, that's just, it's a really scary and kind of overwhelming place to be, I imagine. Yeah, what kind of jumped out at you guys here?

Elisa Preston:

Well, one thing for me, I wonder if it was less overwhelming for them than we think because they had such little reference point in comparison to all of that. So I think they were used to, sometimes a storm coming when they were on the sea. And it's kind of like before there was air conditioning, where the body didn't have to get used to the temperature change. I think that maybe, you know, again, we just read this with what we know now and what we're able to do now. And I think that for Paul, who had had such a transformation, that maybe it was less overwhelming than we think it is because I mean, when I read it, I read it. I think the same thing. I'm like, How in the world did you do all this? And how did you stay so faithful? And how did you stay so committed? I would have wanted to bounce, you know? Yeah, but I think that you know, when you don't know better, you don't know better, and then you just do the best you can with what you've got, and sometimes that just ends up being this really big, miraculous, beautiful thing.

Kate Boyd:

Yeah, I think to what sort of like, as I was reading, some commentaries, they were talking a lot about sort of like the staging of this is like an epic at sea, which is pretty common at the time, which I thought was really interesting because I never would have because you could have right like skipped over some of this. And then like, well, now we're in Rome, you know, but the way that Luke really sort of he's good at mirroring some of, you know, the literature of the time and like framing people like Paul in those terms so that people would understand, like the bigness of what's happening. And then I even think it sort of echoes some other episodes in Scripture. And I know on Twitter Lainey, you were talking about Jonah. And that came up in some of the commentaries, I was reading to what sort of jumped out at you in the sort of Jonah comparison. Yeah, so

Lanie Walkup:

I, this is a very new thought. To me, I had just finished studying Jonah's semester. And Jonah and Paul are both on sent on a mission to go to a pagan land, they're both called by God, essentially, one of them is running from God and winds up on the sea. And one of them, as we've discussed, is just wholeheartedly following, following the Lord. And a lot of my research and the things that I looked into just kept emphasizing hospitality. And I think that links both chapter 27 and 28. And how Paul is hospitable and caring for the pagan people on the boat, whereas Jonah, when he's on the boat with the pagans, he tries to hide, he, he would rather die than help them, like survive, he just wants to be thrown overboard, and doesn't really care what happens to the pagan people, he knows that they'll probably die in the storm. And I don't think it's, it's outlandish to suggest that these storms are very, very dangerous. And that's why these people are afraid. And so then, once you know they both get to the corresponding lands of the pagans, we also see a completely different attitude between Paul who is receptive and caring for both the Maltese people, and then the Romans and, and Jonah, who really just wants to see Nineveh be judged and doesn't care like doing the minimum. Yeah, as a bare minimum. Yeah. So there's definitely more to draw out, I think, between the two, but those sorts of things really struck me, between them.

Elisa Preston:

Can I ask a question about that? In any of the commentary, or any of the connections between the two? Did they talk about if there might have been a difference between the fact that Paul knew about Jesus and like, you know, had experienced the ascension, basically, and then in Jonah hadn't because that was before Jesus was born.

Lanie Walkup:

I actually did not encounter any of the comparisons in any commentaries. But Kate, I don't know if you saw,

Kate Boyd:

yeah, they didn't draw it out too much. They mostly were just saying, you know, you can contrast Paul's response in the storm and to the people with Jonah's, which I think is valid. They didn't draw any, like specific theological things like that. But I think, but what we do see both of them having right is a direct encounter with God telling them that either it's going to be okay, or that they need to go and do this thing, or that's why they're being you know, and then in and I think that's where their response was, like, in response to the vision of God and the voice of God, and telling them what's in store what they need to do. And Paul goes out and comforts people, and he takes care of them. And then he shows up on the islands and again, takes care of people and is hospitable. Whereas, you know, then we see Jonah, like, literally running the other way, and then trying to even, yeah, just showing up and it's like, okay, God's angry, you should change and then he just sort of like sits there and pouts as they do. So, yeah, I mean, nothing big. Yeah, no, nothing that centered on Jesus specifically, but just sort of as you're seeing this epic storm at sea. And the parallels between these two guys and how they acted in, in response to their mission was was an interesting thing for me. Yeah, that is really interesting. I was just wondering. That's cool. Right, and then they're shipwrecked. And yeah, and now the Centurion likes Paul. In fact, he saves everyone just because he likes Paul, which I thought was like an interesting detail because you would think that being in his position, I guess he would have to justify all of that, but that he even decides to keep everyone alive because Paul is worth keeping alive to him. I thought was really an an interesting detail, especially since you know, you rewind like 20 verses and the centurions not even listening to Paul anymore, and now he's willing to like Save, save his skin. Anything in the shipwreck, I know, it's just a little chunk, a few verses, anything that stood out to you guys, before we move on.

Elisa Preston:

The thing that stood out to me was how the when, like the last little chapter 27 says the soldiers plan was to kill the prisoners so that no one could swim away, and the century and kept them from carrying out their plan because he wanted to save Paul, like we just talked about the West, the rest were to follow in my commentary at the bottom, it says that the soldiers intention to kill the prisoners was probably motivated, motivated by the fact that soldiers were held personally responsible for the prisoners who make guarding any soldier whose prisoner escaped would suffer the prisoners punishment. So just that kind of brutality, the fact that that was present. And the fact that Paul's was still stayed courageous, and just on mission and just moving forward. In the face of that potential brutality, struck me. Yeah.

Lanie Walkup:

It's almost like the century and Julius is being compared in some ways to Cornelius and just the, and the, I think, I don't know if there's other Centurions that when they save like Paul and Silas, but just the extreme act of faith, to receive and to help them those that are sent by God. And yeah, just challenges maybe our conception of like, who, who shows faith here, not only Paul, but also this Roman centurion, who's most likely not an necessarily a god fear. But in every other way, Luke is portraying him as someone who does fear God.

Kate Boyd:

Yeah, I think that is interesting. Because as much as you know, this is sort of Paul, the story of Paul, so much of it hinges on faithful kind Gentiles throughout the entire book. You know, and not just whether they believe or not like you said, Laney, some of them, we see that they do some of them, it's ambiguous. But all along the way, and I think that's just such a interesting little bit, because it's not just like a move of the Spirit. But it's also sort of this view of how God is using, you know, various humans throughout the course of this in order to propel the story whether they are aware of it or not. And that's just like such a fascinating thing to think about in your own life. Like how, how is God using you or other people around you to push things forward? Even though you may not even know about it?

Lanie Walkup:

Yeah, right. I think Luke strategically like starts including these Gentiles along the way, obviously, in the mission of God. And we'll see in this next chapter, kind of how that that culminates.

Kate Boyd:

Yeah, so 28 Laney, why don't you recap it for us? Yeah.

Lanie Walkup:

So Paul in the crew, they should get shipwrecked on the island of Malta, and they're welcomed by the people of Malta. And as they're preparing this fire, to warm up, Paul gets the snake bite, and the people of Malta think it's a bad omen. And he's being judged for some crime that he might have committed. But then he's not affected. And then they believe he's a god. But he's like, No, I'm, I'm not a god. But I am obviously sent by God. I mean, he has the power of God with him. Publius is the chief official of the island and he welcomes them. And so his father is sick. And Paul then goes and heals pueblos, as father and many others are healed as well. And they stay there about three months and then set sail to go to Rome. They don't make it all the way to Rome yet, and they stop on a few islands of Syracuse, raggiunge and Putuo Li, and then they're welcomed at Putuo li by some other Christians, and they travel on to roam through that way, which I believe is through a land route, they finally arrive at Rome. And Paul lives with the soldier who is guarding him. And he gathers the Jewish leaders in Rome, and declares that he's innocent and says I'm bound with this chain because of the hope of Israel. They want to hear more from Paul because they, they've heard people speak against the sect of Christians, but they want to hear from Paul himself about this. So he shares with them about Jesus from the Torah and the prophets. Some were convinced and others were not. And then Paul uses Isaiah six to make this sort of indictment or explanation of the rest of his mission. And Isaiah six as you'll keep on hearing, but we'll never understand you'll keep on looking but we'll never perceive. So at that moment, Paul announces salvation for the Gentiles in his mission, to continue to preach about Jesus to the Gentiles, whether and yeah, kind of moves on past this Jewish priority, but continues to offer salvation to the Jews and now fully including the Gentiles.

Kate Boyd:

Yeah, I love how optimistic everything sort of ends, you know, in, in this even though we know for Paul, that it doesn't end great. But in this we sort of get that sense that that mission is going to keep happening. All right, so let's rewind to go back to Malta. So where they are, have landed, or at least have reached there safely. And people showed them unusual kindness or the actual words in my Bible, which I think is so great. Elisa, what did you notice? On Malta?

Elisa Preston:

My Bible actually says extraordinary kindness, which I have boxed in because I thought that was really cool to on Malta. I mean, the heading in my Bible is maltose hospitality. So I know we've talked about this, but I love that they just took him in. For like you said they had heard kind of of it, but really wanted to hear from Paul. And I just love that they were so ready and willing to give him everything he needed. The snake story is one of my favorite parts of the chapter. Because I just, I mean, again, like with your 21st century brain, you just think getting bit by a snake at a campfire. That is terrifying. And Paul just says, I'm good. Okay. And so I too, like how optimistic it is. I like that kindness, I love the community. That's part of what I love about acts is just how communal everything is how much it encourages unity. Even among, you know, people who don't always believe the same thing, though, part of the last, like toward the end of the chapter and mine, it has in brackets, that after he said these things did us departed while engaging in a prolonged debate among themselves. And I just picture him talking and talking, you know, from morning till night, and then he leaves. And then they're just like gathering around saying, Well, what do you think about this? What do you think about that? What do you think about this that he said, and I just, it just sounds like such a nice place to be, you know, somewhere that we could just sit around and chat and just feel at home

Kate Boyd:

on Malta i to really like the snake story I because you just sort of like see where their brain like how a I've, we've talked a lot on the podcasts about sort of like the fickle pneus of people and groups of people. And you just sort of like see it here. You know, Paul gets bit by a viper. And they're like, well, he must have been a murderer. All of this is his fault. And this is justice catching up to him. And then they immediately flip, you know, within a few hours of him not, you know, he doesn't die. And they're like, Oh, well, he must be a God. They're sort of like the way they go back and forth. is so interesting. To me, and yeah, and Publius. I love the little bit about Kubilius and his family. And Lainey did anything stick out in that little episode with Pouliot?

Lanie Walkup:

Yeah, I think this whole scene on Malta, I was like, why can we need to include like, why do we need to include this again? What is what does this show us in the story? And I? I mean, you said your heading was like the hospitality on Malta. And I think it's just showing the power of hospitality and that, like if x is about the Word of God being sent forth, and maybe x 27 and 28 are about showing hospitality to the emissaries of God to those who bring the Word of God. And in the result is that Paul shows the power of God to them, he offers them salvation and deliverance in, in the healing of the sick. And in this display of power of like, not having the snake arm him. And it doesn't explicitly say like, that Paul even preached the word and it doesn't explicitly say that the people believed the word. But there's clearly this like, crossing of boundaries, this friendship that is developed through this hospitality. And I think that really struck me, even Paul receiving hospitality, which I guess, are maybe just two sides of hospitality, as has as hosts and as guests. And Paul is a guest here, and he's not, he's not laughing at them that they thought he was, you know, being judged, and he's not laughing, that he, they thought he was a god, but he then responds just by like, to their hospitality by like, helping them and giving them this salvation. So I think I, I had a lot to learn from Paul just in this role of receiving, receiving hospitality from others and being willing to be helped on their terms, like in their, their cultural understanding of what that looks like. But we'll save those for the Meezan wheeze.

Kate Boyd:

Yeah, and so when commentary I was reading to was talking about how this little bit also kind of mirrors, they called it that they said that Luke is painting a scene of resurrection here, you know, because he comes in, and he, they're being taken care of for three days, and he cures people, and he's healing. And I think it would, I think, if we look at the rest of acts as a precedent, it's probably safe to assume he talked a lot about the gospel here, too. And doing all of this, as a prisoner, like he's not even traveling, like you said, on his own terms, he's not here, you know, free and doing his own thing. And yet, not only is he being allowed to do this by the people who have authority over him in this capacity, but that he is, you know, going out of his way to, to offer this to people, and in the way that they take care of them. And I think that's just really sweet how you sort of see this community come together, you know, like that, it always becomes this sort of, like, mutually supportive thing. And even as we, you know, move into Rome, we see a lot of that, like, the people are coming and visiting and coming from everywhere to talk to Paul, and to learn from him and how they're all sort of relying on each other. In that way, or even, you know, coming to support him is just like really interesting part of it to me, because, yeah, that doesn't have to be included, it doesn't feel like it adds anything specific to like, the flow of the story. But it does sort of add to the tone and the character of it. And I think that's really interesting.

Lanie Walkup:

I feel like it's fitting to have this scene after the shipwreck scene to or like the being tossed on the water. Like you said, Kate, the it's common to have those sorts of stories in like Greco Roman literature, and then being shipwrecked on an island is also very common trope. And normally, there's this like, question of, are these people on this island going to be hospitable or not? And so Luke is really subverting that and turning that on its head, where we would expect the, what the word is, is like the barbarians to harm Paul or, and the, the guards here, they show that extraordinary kindness and yeah, we get like a different perception and understanding of these Maltese people through the way that Luke describes them.

Elisa Preston:

I also thought the story kind of fit because it just showed the steadiness of God and how He offers such a firm foundation, where like you said, they were you know, the superstitions of justice and, you know, calling Paula God and how they just kind of went up and down. I thought the snake bite into a healing just show I would just continue to show the foundation that God and relationship with him and following him offers. Yeah, it's all right. Good.

Lanie Walkup:

I was gonna say it's almost like laughable chapter 27 and 28, all the dangers and encounters that he faces like, they could have been killed at sea, he could have been killed by the centurion, then he could have been stuck on this island and starved, he could have been killed by the barbarians or by the snake yet he still is upheld by the Lord. And he's really got it in some important mission in Rome that he has to get to.

Kate Boyd:

Well, and that's even sort of emblematic of Paul in the whole book. I mean, every time it goes nowhere, there's usually a secret plot, or he does get dragged out of the city to be stoned. You know, or people don't believe him, or people come from the place that he was before because they're still mad about him being there into the new place. And they're trying to hurt him. Like this is very, he he does not have an easy road. And now he's a prisoner. It doesn't get any easier. And back to feels even more dramatic, like the way it's drawn out. Because before it's like, oh, there's a few verses about, you know, they got mad. So Paul left and now it's like, he's, he's literally trapped in all of this. And it's, you know, I think you were saying this before Laney in the beginning, like all of the all of what feels like the cosmic forces working against him, and yet, the whole thing keeps going. And he arrived safely in Rome, and continues doing what he does. So yeah, lands in Rome, Jewish leaders come to him. And he sort of, and he preaches to other people. So what did we notice about Paul and the people who came to Paul in Rome?

Elisa Preston:

I noticed that Paul just didn't stop like he was on the ship, he was a little quieter. I mean, he kept reminding them, you know, if we can do this, it's okay. You know, eventually you need to eat. But I mean, at least in my translation, it says, from dawn to dusk he expounded witnessed about the Kingdom of God. And so I noticed that once he was on land and had maybe closer to the exact mission that he was on with preaching to people and preaching the gospel, he was confident in getting louder and talking more and just doing what he needed to do. He's really good. He seems really good at knowing when to speak and knowing when to not.

Kate Boyd:

Yeah, I think he's pretty good at reading a room. Mm hmm. Great. He does have sort of have that skill. Laney, what did you notice in Rome? Yeah, I

Lanie Walkup:

was. I was curious why the people in Rome like didn't know about, like the Christian sect from the Christians in Rome. Yeah, I had only heard that. People were speaking against it. And they even said that they hadn't heard anything bad about, about Paul. And so I just thought that was interesting. Like, why the Jewish leaders? Maybe hadn't been connected with the church in Rome yet? Or if there maybe there wasn't a church in Rome yet. I'm inclined to think that there was but

Kate Boyd:

I mean, they at least seem to be they're aware, right. Like I, I think some of the commentaries I reading, were like, there was a sizable Christian community here. But what feels different maybe than some other places is that it was less connected to the Jewish synagogue system, is what it seemed to be, which is maybe why, you know, the Jewish leaders didn't know as much about it. Perhaps it did come out of Yeah, more of a Gentile centered mission than a Jewish one, which feels kind of different from a lot of what we encounter. I feel like in Acts or even some other parts of the New Testament but I do at least appreciate I continue to appreciate like the pattern. You know, Paul meets with Jewish leaders and then Paul me, and then Paul continues with Gentiles, because there's always sort of a mixed response from Jewish leaders. Which is, yeah, fascinating, and the way that he approaches it with all the groups of people And that people keep coming, like people just keep showing up, you know, in large numbers. Yeah. To talk to you. Yeah, you've

Elisa Preston:

got to wonder like what they were craving, you know, like, what His teaching was touching in their heart and soul to make them come back and then bring more people. That's what I was wondering, you know, that's what I was thinking when I was

Kate Boyd:

reading. Right? Or even what had they heard? Like, you were saying, Laney, what did they heard about Christians that they were or Paul that made them want to, like, come and reach out or learn more? It's fascinating. And I'm, I like how I guess I'd let me gather my thought. So we know, like, we know, at this time, you know, scriptures, we know it, like the New Testament is we know it doesn't really exist. Like that's not a thing. And so I, I'm always, I always enjoy seeing how they use how people in Acts or even the New Testament use the Old Testament to like, tell the story of Jesus and the story of God and the Kingdom of God and what's happening. And somehow, Isaiah is always part of that, which is really fun. And so yeah, what sort of, in this last section, where he's doing with talks about him preaching, and then we're sort of left in the end. Laney, what stood out to you?

Lanie Walkup:

Yeah, I think the ending itself, just makes it very clear that this whole book, in these last few chapters aren't even really about Paul. It's, it's funny that the last two words are without restriction. And he is, by all means restrained. He's trapped in a house, guarded by Roman soldiers, yet he can continue to preach the Word of God without restriction. And it's kind of this like launching pad of how the Word of God will continue to go forth without restriction now to the Gentiles. And yeah, this ending just explains, you know, why? Why are there Gentiles in the church? Now? Why is it not just Israel? And it's because some have turned in close in close to their eyes, but salvation of God, the salvation of God is still for them. It's still for Israel, and it's now also for the Gentiles. But yeah, the ending what seems very unsatisfactory, if you're, if you're thinking this is about Paul, what happens to him? Does he die? Is he trapped there forever? This doesn't tell us.

Kate Boyd:

Yeah. And that's one thing I really appreciated throughout the entire book of Acts, is that even though it's sort of centered on Peter and Paul, as you go throughout, you're really seeing Yeah, like that, the, that the story is about God, and the story is about the continuation of, you know, the Kingdom beyond expectation. And so it's, or even the way that the Holy Spirit is sort of the driving character and shows up and on basically every chapter. And, like, that's what I really think the story is about, like even here at the end, you know, in Paul's last speech is like, the Holy Spirit was right in saying, you know, Luke is tying it all together. And so the, you know, the mission is present in Acts. But the Holy Spirit is the one doing, you know, pushing it all forward and he's doing it through people that we see like a Barnabas and Paul and a Peter and a Philip and all of the people who show up but, but that it's really the story of God doing the work to continue just happens to have humans as a part of it.

Elisa Preston:

That's how I felt too and especially at the end, like you said, My so mine says full boldness and without hindrance, and so I love that we can just Picture Paul sitting at that house for two years after dealing with all those storms, and all the accusations, and you know, I mean, not, he could not have been having a good time. And now he's, you know, gets to do his thing can, you know, keep going on his mission, you know, completely confident that he's doing what he's supposed to do. And I love that.

Kate Boyd:

Okay, anything else from chapter 28, before we move on to armies in our league.

Lanie Walkup:

There was one last thing just in light of some of the hospitality stuff that I've been mentioning. But it ends with that, like Paul welcomed all who came to him and I can't help but think that like, he wrapping it up, like he was able to do that. Because the beginning of chapter 28, the people of Malta welcomed him. And then Publius welcomed him. And then the people on the other island Putuo Lee, they welcomed him. And because all of those people welcomed him now Paul, like is in Rome and able to welcome people into the kingdom of God is just a really cool picture of yeah, just the the Gentiles and the pagans, showing this extraordinary hospitality to this person sent by God. And because of that, he was able to make it to Rome and fulfill His mission. Which is the mission of God, which is totally not done. But Paul's role in it seems to seems to end here in some way.

Elisa Preston:

Hospitality begets hospitality, right.

Kate Boyd:

Okay, well, let's, yeah, let's talk takeaways. Elisa, what are your what is your main thought and your we thought,

Elisa Preston:

so what I kept coming around to was a sentence that I ended up putting on a little poster that I have, above my computer, have faith, have courage and have good sense. I saw that as the trifecta of Paul's experience and his expertise, because he used all three of those things. And sometimes one weighed more than the other. But I believe that all of them, you know, whichever one was weighing more at any given point was from the Holy Spirit. Because sometimes it's just really important to have good sense. And that doesn't mean that you don't have faith, it just means that at that moment, you have something very practical to do. And, you know, that's your thing to do. And he was courageous throughout the whole thing, keeping on his mission, no matter the storm, you know, literal or otherwise, right until the very end, and in all that he was just so faithful. So have faith, have courage and have good sense. Do you have a we? I do. Kind of like the hospitality begets hospitality that you were talking about, he gained so much credibility with the other passengers because he didn't just beat them over the head with the insights that he had received from the angel. He is practicality and faith to wisely time, his encouragement and reminders. And I would just love it if we could keep that in mind when we talk about every single thing. Everything politics, faith, religion, gender roles, vaccines, every dang thing. Everything, every conversation, that's what I'd like to do.

Kate Boyd:

Nice, plenty. How about you? Yeah, um,

Lanie Walkup:

so I'm gonna start with my Wii I, I'm just thinking well, of the Malta episode. And it recalled to mind just my own experience in my church. And our Church recently moved to a neighborhood that is much more like ethnically diverse than the people that comprise the church. And I think these chapters challenge us to become all things to all people, which Paul does talk about himself, to receive the hospitality of those where we are, but also for our church to be a host not in a way that like requires assimilation to our standards, since we might have more social power, because often, like the idea of host requires some sort of power over another, but in a way that causes us to lay down our rights and freedoms and become all things to all people. How we see Paul doing that with the people of Malta becoming their guest, and receiving what they have for him. So yeah, I was challenged that the church should learn from the groups that in the neighbors that we are around. And rather than just merely seeking to You know, colonize them or even only to share the gospel, but to perform or seek the power of God among them in the way that Paul offers healing to the people of Malta. And I think for my me, it builds off of that, in that I am like, the worst person asking for help, like, I don't know, my limits, and I don't know how to ask for help and receive help from others, because I think I want to be that one. That is the host that can give to others. And in many ways, it's because I don't want to rely on Yeah, want to rely on other people. And I think what I see is like that the Spirit is the one bringing Paul into these places of dependence and reliance, and what am I stifling when I don't accept those that help from others, when I don't acknowledge my own weakness that the spirit might be drawing me into? How am I like, stifling the Spirits work in my life? And so I was, that's really been challenging to me, and I am encouraged in this season to Yeah, just reach out to neighbors asking for help and receive the hospitality that, that they so often show me.

Kate Boyd:

Yeah, I love that. And I'm going to start with my way as well, just because I think it's very similar to what you guys have been saying this idea of like, welcoming and being welcomed, like a lot, a allowing myself to be welcomed in two places, but also, you know, being a person who extends a hand of welcome. And I, I like to isolate, and I think and even now I because you know, we're in the middle of searching for a home church or community here. And so it's really sort of like, in that process, there's a lot of, you know, dynamics, that word that we're going through that we haven't before. And so as we look for churches and communities, I think that's something that we've become really attuned to needing to look for is not just people who welcome us, but people who welcome others and, you know, extend that hospitality to the area that they're in. And that's become really important. So I think that's something that is a good week. And then for me, um, I sort of am focused on I wrote down trust what God says, I think in all of that, we'd saw Paul do a whole lot of us he would work even though everything felt really uncertain. And so I love that he stuck to what he heard God say and that he like continued even though it was very uncertain and very wild. So just to trust in that. Thank you so much for joining us today. If you enjoyed this discussion, I would love it if you would rate and review the show on your favorite podcast player. You know the drill. This helps more people find the show and learn with us as we talk through Scripture. And then I would love if you came over on social media to talk about what your big takeaways were, what your me thought and we thought were from our discussion, or for when you dove into these chapters. You can find me on Instagram at Kate boyd.co and on Twitter at v Kate Boyd. And don't forget to check the show notes to find and follow today's contributors. Thank you for joining us.