28 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, the goddess 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 showed us generous hospitality for three days. 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.
Living God’s Word:
To Paul’s long list of trials and tribulations (see 2 Corinthians 11:23–28) can be added this bizarre incident of a snakebite (28:3–6). Truly the forces of hell itself were arrayed in a desperate attempt to keep the apostle from reaching Rome. But God had given his assurance that Paul would have the opportunity to preach the gospel there (see 23:11; 27:24). Through Paul, the life-changing message of the risen Christ would spread through even the highest strata of Roman society. This episode is a strong reminder that when we walk with the Lord, nothing can stop us from doing his will.
Words to Live By: At Malta, Paul amazes the native people by surviving a snakebite, and they believe he is a god. As he heals many sick people, they will learn that his power comes from the one true God, not from Paul himself. By God’s miraculous power in Christ, He rescues His people from sin, death, and ignorance.
Prayer: Thank You, Holy Spirit, for showing us the true God! Keep our faith in Him, that we may always know His forgiveness and life. Amen.
Living and Sharing the Word of God… because it matters!
Pastor Rod Lindemann
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The Holy Bible: New International Version. (2011). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan
Words to Live by and Prayer: Engelbrecht, E. A. (2009). The Lutheran Study Bible (2002). St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House. Purchase a copy of The Lutheran Study Bible at www.cph.org or contact Rod Lindemann.
Living God’s Word: Adapted from Life Application, Barton, B. B. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.