28 After we were brought safely through, we then learned that the island was called Malta. 2 The native people showed us unusual kindness, for they kindled a fire and welcomed us all, because it had begun to rain and was cold. 3 When Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and put them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat and fastened on his hand. 4 When the native people saw the creature hanging from his hand, they said to one another, “No doubt this man is a murderer. Though he has escaped from the sea, Justice has not allowed him to live.” 5 He, however, shook off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm. 6 They were waiting for him to swell up or suddenly fall down dead. But when they had waited a long time and saw no misfortune come to him, they changed their minds and said that he was a god.
7 Now in the neighborhood of that place were lands belonging to the chief man of the island, named Publius, who received us and entertained us hospitably for three days. 8 It happened that the father of Publius lay sick with fever and dysentery. And Paul visited him and prayed, and putting his hands on him healed him. 9 And when this had taken place, the rest of the people on the island who had diseases also came and were cured. 10 They also honored us greatly, and when we were about to sail, they put on board whatever we needed.
POINTS OF INTEREST
- It seems that things are out of control on this trip. The storm, the shipwreck, the viper, the sickness – all these things seemed to be against Paul. But in reality, God used each of these situations to bring glory to Himself.
- v.2,3. There is this understanding in this world, about good people being rewarded and bad people being punished. That is why the natives showed kindness upon arrival, but assumed Paul was evil when he was bitten by a snake. Paul’s survival throws that preconception on their heads.
- v.6 The second preconception is that Paul must have been a god. Because Paul was not subject to the same “laws” of the natural world, they assumed he was a god. It tells us that they believed gods could just do things as they pleased.
- v.7 This series of unfortunate events, instead of being negative, becomes an opportunity for healing and freedom. God is at work all the time.
- v.10 Paul didn’t heal and bless the people there, hoping that they might give the ship supplies. But as God’s love was shared with the natives, they returned with love and gratitude towards Paul and the crew.
submitted by Bert Han
PRAYING IN FAITH
Do things in your life seem out of control – that things seem to be going against you? Like Paul, he could have been down about his situation, but instead he had faith that God was in control, and God’s glory was going to be shown in this situation. Ask God to open your eyes to the work that he’s asking you to be part of in the situation that you’re in now.
For your Five
Your five might have preconceptions about what Christianity is like. Ask God to break through those preconceptions in each of your friend’s lives. Ask Him to show them Jesus’ true power and authority.
For Our Church
Pray that our church never loses sight that Jesus is the one to lead us. Let our church eagerly take up the challenges and opportunities around us.