In the fall of 60 AD, Paul was on his way to Rome aboard an egyptian grain ship when the vessel was caught up in a Euroclydon, a cyclonic tempestuous northeast wind the like of a hurricane. The ship had sailed from Fair Havens, which was not a suitable harbor to spend the winter. In spite of Paul’s warning, the ship set sail, then wrecked on the island of Malta.
“1 Now when they had escaped, they then found out that the island was called Malta.” (Acts 28:1)
After everyone reached the shore of the island, the inhabitants informed the ship’s 265 sailors, prisoners and soldiers they had reached Malta, an island in the Mediterranean Sea about 50 miles south of Sicily, over 600 miles off Phoenix, their intended destination. The Lord’s plan was for Paul and the others on board the ship to winter at Malta, to preach the gospel and further the kingdom of God.
“2 And the natives showed us unusual kindness; for they kindled a fire and made us all welcome, because of the rain that was falling and because of the cold.” (Acts 28:2)
As the inhabitants of the island were neither Greeks nor Romans, but of African and Asian descent, they were considered barbarians. Never the less, they showed courtesy and kindness by building a fire for the drenched strangers, who were cold and wet from their swim ashore during a stormy winter.
“3 But when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and laid them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat, and fastened on his hand. 4 So when the natives saw the creature hanging from his hand, they said to one another, “No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he has escaped the sea, yet justice does not allow to live.” (Acts 28:3-4)
Just as he did on the ship, when he helped throwing tackle overboard, Paul laid a helping hand with the fire. But, he was struck by a viper, a venomous snake commonly found on the island, and feared by the natives for its venom that typically contains proteases, protein-degrading enzymes that not only cause pain and swelling, but also blood loss from cardiovascular damage complicated by disruption of the blood clotting system. In those days, a viper bite would be deadly.
When they saw the viper wrapped around Paul’s hand, the island’s natives assumed he would die, and reasoned about his fate, coming to the conclusion the prisoner had to have committed a serious crime, and was deserving of the pain, suffering and eventual death that stemmed from a venomous snake bite.
“5 But he shook off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm. 6 However, they were expecting that he would swell up or suddenly fall down dead. But after they had looked for a long time and saw no harm come to him, they changed their minds and said that he was a god.” (Acts 28:5-6)
Miraculously, Paul was not harmed by the snake attack, which lead the natives to abandon their conviction the prisoner was a murderer, instead after they witnessed the occurrence, they considered him a god.
“7 In that region there was an estate of the leading citizen of the island, whose name was Publius, who received us and entertained us courteously for three days. 8 And it happened that the father of Publius lay sick of a fever and dysentery. Paul went in to him and prayed, and he laid his hands on him and healed him. 9 So when this was done, the rest of those on the island who had diseases also came and were healed. 10 They also honored us in many ways; and when we departed, they provided such things as were necessary.” (Acts 28:7-10)
The Roman governor of the island, a man named Publius lodged the soldiers, sailors and prisoners for a few days, until each one could provide for himself on the island. As it turned out, Publius’ father was ill with dysentery, an inflammation of the intestines, especially the colon, that often causes severe diarrhea. Untreated, Bacillary dysentery, caused by Shigella, a bacterium and Amoebic dysentery, caused by Entamoeba histolytica, a type of amoeba are both deadly.
But, Paul prayed on the sick man and laid hands on him, and miraculously, he was healed. Then, for three months, Paul preached the gospel and continued healing the sick on the island, until the time came for the envoy departed during the spring of A.D. 61. Let’s pray!
We thank you for your blessings in our lives and for your servant Luke,
We praise you Lord for his wisdom and for his works through this scripture,
We ask you Lord to inspire us to use these verses in our lives
As we grow in you through the teachings of your faithful apostle.
Lord we ask you to strengthen us each day as we endure through battles,
Allow us to praise and love each other through faith in you Jesus,
Shield us from evil through truth, the gospel, salvation and prayer,
Guide us to abide by your word as we spread your gospel to one and all
Becoming examples of faith through our character as we walk the narrow path.
God we pray that you will continue to bless us, to bless our lives and fill us with hope
We ask you Lord to guide our footsteps and lead us to the way everlasting,
Through faith in you Lord we seek salvation and a place with you in heaven
According to your word, your everlasting wisdom and strength.
May your will be done
In our lives, for your life.
We thank you for your love and all you bless us with each day.
This message was written by Daniel St.Pierre