1 Once safely on shore, we found out that the island was called Malta.
2 The islanders showed us unusual kindness. They built a fire and welcomed us all because it was raining and cold.
3 Paul gathered a pile of brushwood and, as he put it on the fire, a viper, driven out by the heat, fastened itself on his hand.
4 When the islanders saw the snake hanging from his hand, they said to each other, "This man must be a murderer; for though he escaped from the sea, Justice has not allowed him to live."
5 But Paul shook the snake off into the fire and suffered no ill effects.
6 The people expected him to swell up or suddenly fall dead, but after waiting a long time and seeing nothing unusual happen to him, they changed their minds and said he was a god.
7 There was an estate nearby that belonged to Publius, the chief official of the island. He welcomed us to his home and for three days entertained us hospitably.
8 His father was sick in bed, suffering from fever and dysentery. Paul went in to see him and, after prayer, placed his hands on him and healed him.
9 When this had happened, the rest of the sick on the island came and were cured.
10 They honored us in many ways and when we were ready to sail, they furnished us with the supplies we needed.
Power of Christ (28:1–6)
When Paul and the other men swim ashore, they discover that they are on the island of Malta. The islanders are unusually kind and build a fire to warm them. As Paul puts more wood into the fire, a poisonous viper comes out and bites him. The islanders assume that Paul must be a murderer who is getting what he deserves and will die from the poison, but Paul shakes off the snake and continues to go about his business. Upon seeing this, the islanders change their minds about Paul, deciding that he is a god. The people of Malta mistakenly think that Paul is a god because they do not yet know the true God, but through Paul, they begin to learn about and experience the power of Christ.
- What misunderstandings do people have about God? How can you help them to know the truth?
Meeting Physical Needs (28:7–10)
Interestingly, there is no mention of Paul preaching in Malta or establishing a church there. His ministry on the island is mostly marked by physical healings. Paul prays for the father of Publius, the chief official of the island, and the man is healed. When the rest of the sick people on the island hear about this healing, they come to Publius’s house and are all cured as well. As messengers of God, we should address the physical needs of people as well as their spiritual needs. If Christians only bring the Good News without demonstrating any care or compassion for physical needs, then we are not reflecting the love of Christ. When people see that Christians care about them, this can also soften their hearts to receive the Gospel message.
- Who around you is suffering due to a physical need? How can you pray for that person and help meet that need?
A letter to God
Eternal God, You are the Giver of life and the ultimate Healer of all creation. Help me to reach out with compassion to those who suffer so that all will see Your power and love. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
* All Copyrights of the text in Living Life belong to Duranno Books.