Read: Acts 28:1-10
After abandoning ship, the 276 travelers, including Paul make their way to
Malta and were received warmly by the islanders. We are told that is was cold and rainy when the ship wrecked crew arrived and the natives of the island built a fire for the cold and soggy crew. Have you ever been stuck outside in a cold rain for an extended period of time? This past summer on Wilderness Trek, our group had to hike half of a five mile hike in a very cold rain. By the time we got to camp, we were shivering, had to set up tents, and some of us were losing heart. But, after all our tents were up, the rain ceased and we were able to build a fire. It is amazing how encouraging a camp fire can be. Within a short time, warmth replaced shivers, and hearts that were melting with gloom were alive with excitement. I believe Paul and the other crew experienced a little of this at this camp fire in
The natives noticed a snake had bitten Paul, and under normal circumstances a viper’s bite is fatal. Protected by the Lord, the snakes bite was more of an inconvenience than anything else. Paul shakes off the snake and goes about doing his work for the kingdom. Did you notice that these islanders thought Paul was a god. This incident is apparently different than earlier in Acts where a whole town had thought Paul and Barnabas were Hermes and Zeus, and Paul and Barnabas attempted to correct the town’s faulty theology. There is no mention in this text today that Paul had heard the comments about the people thinking he was a god.
Luke tells us that the chief official of the city had an estate nearby where the crew had spent a few days being entertained and taken care of. Publius, the chief official’s father was sick and Paul being ever the servant of Christ uses his position in a high raking official’s home to heal his ailing father. News about this healing spread and all the sick are said to have been brought to Paul so he could heal them too. I just love how God uses any situation to get his people in contact with those that don’t Him.