The ship has landed. The tree has spread its branches wide across the Empire of Rome and has cast its soothing shade over a sin-scorched earth. In these last two chapters of Acts, we see Paul make his final journey. He had planned to travel to Rome on his way to Spain as a missionary. But, as is often the case when you are a servant of God, he had his plans slightly skewed. Paul had the right destination in mind; he just got the means of transportation wrong. Instead of entering Rome as a courageous missionary, he came as a broken and humble prisoner.
Throughout these two chapters, we see that Luke draws one final, poetic portrait of the Kingdom of God as he contrasts the island of Malta with the city of Rome. Where does the Kingdom manifest? Is it in the cultural capital of the world where the most power and influence can be wielded by strategic evangelistic thinkers? No. It is poured out on a little island, by a broken prisoner, in the middle of the ocean. In Rome, the Kingdom is lukewarmly received and the story ends in a somewhat anti-climactic tone. Luke never fails to point out the irony of the Kingdom of God. Jesus and his followers are not of this world. We are pilgrims, passing through, leaving in our wake the opening and invitation to enter into the eternal Kingdom of God and enjoy life to the fullest.
The Apostle Paul wrote the letter to the Ephesians during this section of Acts. It is an instruction on how to be the unified body of Christ in the union of ethnic diversity.
The Apostle Paul wrote the letter to the Philippians during this section of Acts. It is a thank you note for their generosity while he is suffering in prison.