The crew and prisoners on Paul’s ship have landed alive in Malta, sans the wrecked ship (just as Paul prophesied). The Maltese welcome them with a warm fire. Paul helps by gathering brush for the fire.
Unfortunately, a poisonous snake in the brush bites Paul. The superstitious Maltese consequently decide that Paul must be a murderer – that death by snake is his just punishment. So…
The people thought that Paul would swell up or fall down dead. They waited and watched him for a long time, but nothing bad happened to him. So they changed their minds and said, “He is a god!” Acts 28:6 NCV
I don’t know. I got a kick of out of this scene. So Paul gets bit. He probably drops the brush into the fire, then goes to get a poultice for his hand to reduce the swelling, then prays with the other believers as he waits.
But as he tends to himself and prays, I imagine these Maltese walking around behind him, staring and waiting. Maybe sitting behind the praying men, expecting death any moment. Quietly waiting for the inevitable. Starting to murmur as nothing seems to happen…
Then they must have gone nuts when they realized nothing WOULD happen!
After all, this was a deadly viper.
Of course, although it’s not recorded here, this event must have opened a huge opportunity for Paul to share the gospel. No snake of Satan could destroy the chance for Paul to talk about Jesus… and to go to Rome. In fact, the snake promoted the gospel.
If this event wasn’t enough, Paul later healed Publius’ father and many others.
No wonder when Paul and the others left, the islanders gave the shipwrecked men honors and all they needed for the journey to Rome.
This makes me think – I need to pray for God to create for me some very obvious opportunities to share the gospel.
But no snake bites, thanks!
Today’s Readings: Nehemiah 9:38-11:36, Psalm 89:19-29, Proverbs 22:1-2, Acts 28:1-31. See About for what I’m up to with these daily posts. Your daily blogger, Holiday Longing (Reproduce with permission only).