On To Rome: Acts Poem 28

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Malta, Syracuse, and on to Italy

Then to Rome for a two year stay

In the presence of the Praetorian Guard

Paul taught both Jew and Gentile every day

Of the kingdom of God, and Moses’ law he did preach

And from the things the Prophets did say

Of Jesus’ salvation he tried them to persuade

So that they might find the way


Acts Poem 28 for February 28th.

Journey: Acts Poem 27

Wave, Huge, Wild, Ocean, Water, Nature

Paul, Rome-ward bound

Travelling the great Mediterranean Sea

When a great storm arose

To batter the saint and his company

The vessel on which they were embarked

Was being broken to pieces

And ropes were lowered to bind the planks

In hope of making the beaches

No calming of the storm did come

For Paul was but a man

But the entire party was nonetheless spared

In keeping with God’s greater plan


Acts poem 27 for February from Acts 27.

Teachings Iron-clad: Acts Poem 26

Paul – Creative Commons

Paul his testimony, he did relate

Behind the palace’s heavy gates

Of his fervour as a youth

And his Damascus Road experience

When he learned the truth

He spoke of his mission to Abraham’s seed

And to Gentiles too, who of God were in need

And of the resurrection

God’s greatest deed

Festus remarked learning had made Paul mad

But Paul said that Agrippa could vouch

That the things he spoke were iron-clad

The interview finished, the king impressed

And Paul prepared for his imperial test


Acts Poem 26 from Acts 26

Conspiracy and Process: Acts Poem 25

Herod Agrippa II.jpg
Herod Agrippa – Public Domain

Rome’s new man to Judea came

And the Council, Paul’s life sought to end

A petition they to the governor made

A favour they asked, for Paul to Jerusalem send

For an ambush had been arranged

To carry out the murderous deed

But the official, judicious was

And to them he did say

“You come with me to Caesarea,

And we will examine the things you claim you made.”

And there with Paul he found no fault,

But a second opinion Festus did seek

So Paul before Agrippa appeared

And he too, saw the charges were weak

But since an appeal to Caesar had been made

The law on the topic was clear

Paul to Rome must next journey

And before the Emperor appear


Acts Poem 25 from Acts 25.

Sanhedrin Address: Acts Poem 23

Acts 23
image from Trust Believe

There were those in Jerusalem called Sadducees

They believed not in heaven and eternal life

Which is a state sad you see

Living just for this world full of strife

Paul himself a Pharisee, from that sect he did come

He told the Sanhedrin of Christ arisen

And of everlasting life to be won

A dispute arose so acrimonious

That soldiers were called lest Paul’s body would be rent

And soon after Paul from the Lord

Was told he to Rome would be sent



Acts Poem for February based on Acts 23.

No Mean City: Acts Poem 22

Paul Arrested – Public Domain

Paul did his story tell

How he had repented from the path of Hell

And stated then clear as day

That he was a citizen of a great city

His statement had meanings three

As from Tarsus great he did hail

He was a citizen of lofty Rome as well

But the greatest city he could declare

Was as a subject of God’s Kingdom of the air

For of all cities none can compare

To the one with God’s throne residing there


Acts Poem 22 based on Acts 21 and 22.

Jerusalem Bound: Acts Poem 21

Jerusalem Temple


Paul said to Jerusalem he must go

And Agabus warned he would be in two ways be Jerusalem bound

But prophecy did not deter the Apostle from his mission – the gospel to expound

With tears the saints did bid Paul with them to stay

But onwards he did go to complete his ministry


February Acts Poem 21 from Acts 21

Paul, Apostle of Christ: Film Review



What is it with film-makers?  There is so much wonderful biblical content to work with, yet to jazz it all up we end up with Noah, Mary Magdalene, and Paul, Apostle of Christ. 

Biblical quotes, such as Paul expanding on love from the Corinthians letter to Luke are evident in the film.  But the general feel of the film is dark and hopeless.   The Christian community has none of the joy the epistles encourage them to, nor does Paul (as portrayed) found a peace that is beyond all understanding.  In fact, even though the character Paul says repeatedly “My grace is sufficient,” he remains haunted by his sins of old.   In scripture Paul says he did all in good faith, yet here he clings to his transgression as a reminder of his “failing.”  Is this the film-maker giving an educated wink to Paul’s writings where he moves from “an apostle,” to an “apostle untimely born,” to later in life calling himself, “chief of all sinners?”

The depiction of Saul’s conversion is handled well, though with slight embellishment in his meeting with Ananias.  The idea of conversion, is clear.  However, as noted above the long lasting nature of being “born again,” is not as pronounced in the film as one might expect it to be.

The film also not only fails to show the Christian community, and Paul, as joyful in persecution (Matthew 5:12), but they are fear ridden and wanting to strike out violently (which incidentally would prove Nero’s charges against them).  So much for “Turn the other cheek.”

The persecution shown, while in line with Tacitus’ account following the Roman fire, makes a poor job of showing Christians as street-lamps.  The oil dousing as shown in the film would not burn long, so this is just a point for historians.  Tarred and covered in straw is how one historian suggested it would be done, but the film goes with the suggestion, not the practicality of it.

What bothers me most about this movie is that the Christian community, and Priscilla especially, are depicted more as a philanthropic organisation, more than a religious community.  Yes, the early church was noted for their acts of charity and equality, but where in this film is this linked to “loving your neighbour”  much less loving God?  When one character calls for an uprising against Nero, he is reprimanded with the words, “Christ called us to care for the world, not rule it.”  Is caring for the world in material ways truly all the gospel calls us to?   Where is the “Go and make disciples?”

There was also no point where communal worship of the community shown.  The closest is Luke addressing a group of Christians about to be killed in the games.   Luke leads them in the Lord’s prayer after telling them death will only hurt for a moment, then they will be with Christ.

Luke’s role is also troublesome in this film.  He has gone to Rome to get Paul’s testimony so that he can write the Book of Acts.  This is not divine revelation, but studious note taking.  His purpose in writing it is not to elevate Christ, but rather to make an example of how to live as a Christian based on Paul (not Christ).  I find this a problem.  In the film’s side story (the illness of the daughter of a Roman official), Paul’s spiritual gifts are not exercised, but only Luke’s Greek medical skills.  Again, a charitable, social conscious secularism is an underlying element of this film, despite all of its Christian potential.

This film is not terrible (like Noah) but it really fell down from what it could have achieved.





Saul: “by faith, not by sight”


Image result for paul damascus

Saul was closely associated with the Council and other leaders of the Jews.  He would have well known the events which led to Jesus’ execution and the “wild story” of His resurrection.   It is precisely that, that seems to be one of the driving forces of his persecution of the fledgling Christian movement. It does not make sense for the dead to return.

But this is exactly what had happened. It is interesting to note that in Luke, Jesus had ended the parable of the rich man and Lazarus with an assertion that if one would not believe the words of Moses and the Prophets, they would not believe even if one returned from death!

Paul on the surface, a man who professed that his “righteousness based on the law, [was] faultless;” nevertheless he persecuted the church for the claim of resurrection (Philippians 3:6).  Maybe it was his dedication to a narrow interpretation of law that “blinded” him. He was so caught up in the tangible and in the “concrete” written word, that he failed to see what the spirit underlying the word was teaching him.

He did not grasp what the Hebrews writer concluded: “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see (Hebrews 11:1).”  Jesus, Himself had picked up on this when Thomas called for a physical sign of the resurrection, “Then Jesus told him, ‘Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed’ (John 20:29).”

So there was Saul, fixated on what he thought he knew. The witnesses of Jesus’ actions during His ministry were ignored, and those who proclaimed the risen Christ were persecuted.

Then, Bang! Saul encounters Jesus on the Damascus road. All of his assumptions and prejudices were challenged.

“Saul, why do you persecute me?,” Jesus asked.

“But, who are you?”

“I am Jesus!”

[One can imagine the embellishment to the scripture:] “But, you’re dead!”

“Apparently not!”

Saul, was blinded by the brilliant light of Jesus’ presence. In a sense, he had to be physically blinded, in order to truly spiritually see. This was a conversion, and changing of the path he was on.

Yet, this life changing realisation, goes in the face of Jesus’ suggestion in Luke that even if one witnessed one returning from the dead, and didn’t believe the scriptures, they would not believe.  Maybe it is still the case with Saul. He did believe what Moses and the Prophets had taught, he just failed to fully understand.  It was his dedication to the principle (with a little enlightening from Jesus) that prepared him for what was to come.

Saul (now Paul) was transformed and could now profess, “for we walk by faith, not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7).”

Are we bound by our assumptions (religious or secular)? Do we take the “seeing is believing” approach?  Or do we “close our eyes” to possibilities that don’t fit into our conceptions or plans? If so, let us seek our own Damascus moments.