Acts 28:1-10 (JDV)
Acts 28:1 Once safely ashore, we then learned that the island was called Malta.
Acts 28:2 The barbarians showed us extraordinary kindness. They lit a fire and took us all in, since it was raining and cold.
Acts 28:3 As Paul gathered a bundle of sticks and put it on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat and fastened itself on his hand.
Acts 28:4 When the barbarians saw the wild creature hanging from his hand, they said to one another, “This man, no doubt, is a murderer. Even though he has escaped the sea, Justice has not allowed him to live.”
Acts 28:5 But he shook the wild creature off into the fire and experienced no harm.
Acts 28:6 They expected that he would begin to swell up or suddenly drop dead. After they waited a long time and observed nothing unusual happen to him, they changed their minds and said he was a god.
Acts 28:7 Now in the area around that place was an estate belonging to the leading man of the island, named Publius, who welcomed us and entertained us hospitably for three days.
Acts 28:8 Publius’s father was in bed suffering from fever and dysentery. Paul went to him, and praying and laying his hands on him, he healed him.
Acts 28:9 After this, the rest of those on the island who had diseases also came and were healed.
Acts 28:10 So they heaped many honors on us, and when we sailed, they gave us what we needed.
Paul did not exactly visit Malta on the best of terms. He arrived as a prisoner, exhausted, soaking wet from a shipwreck, snake-bit, and suspected of being a murderer. But the locals helped him, and eventually realized that he was more than the sum of his experiences. Because they had helped him, they eventually became open to his helping them. After he healed Publius’ father, the whole island was open to his ministry.
I have many pleasant memories associated with this story, because my family had a number of times we needed the help of the locals. They may have sounded like barbarians, but they had hearts to help outsiders in need, because they are also children of our sky father. And we found it true as well that when people helped us, they became more open to our helping them, by sharing the gospel.
Lord, thank you for the care you show to us by the barbarians.
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