In this last chapter of the book of Acts we find Paul in Malta, then traveling to Rome. Several events happen in Malta and on route to Rome.
This chapter is significant because it closes Paul's ministry to the Jew first and focuses on sharing the Gospel to the Gentiles. It officially starts the Christian church that is separate from Judaism. From here, the church spreads to all the know world. But it has continued for generations until now. The task is now for us to take the Gospel to all nations.
What are some things we learn from this chapter?
1. God will care for His people and provide for their needs.
2. We are God's representatives where ever we go. There is no tome when we are not.
3. We need to be aware of our opportunities to be his instruments to share the Gospel. Don't expect everyone to believe, but expect God to work. Ne ready to extend yourself for the Gospel.
4. Our lives are an encouragement to other believers. Let's be aware of those who need encouragement.
Why does the book of Acts finish here?
The ending feels like there is no ending. This is true. Paul's ministry to the Gentiles continued and continues today with us. The church continues to fulfill God's calling to take the Gospel to the ends of the Earth. The history of the church will end with Christ's return for his people.
What happened to Paul after this?
We don't know for certain but Eusebius, a Christian historian (260– 340), tells us (Ecclesiastical History http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/250102.htm) that Paul was released from prison and takes the Gospel to Spain. Upon returning to Rome (between 64-68), he is rearrested. This was the time when Nero has gone mad and blames Christians for the great fire in Rome. Paul is also beheaded by Nero. Just before his martyrdom Paul writes one last letter called 2 Timothy.
2 Timothy 4:6-7 (HCSB Strong's)
"For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time for my departure is close. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith."
Paul finished his race faithfully. He poured his life for the Lord.
What about us? How will we finish our race? How much are we willing to give of ourselves?