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.
Paul lives an adventurous, inspiring life. In this passage, he has just survived two weeks at sea and being shipwrecked. Elsewhere he says that he has been in prison, flogged, exposed to death, whipped, beaten and stoned (2 Cor 11:23-26). And now, arriving in Malta, he gets bitten by a deadly viper snake and survives. No fear is mentioned. He just shakes it off. I love this guy! He doesn’t panic. He doesn’t apply first aid. He just goes on. (Do not try this at home!) Furthermore, he prays and Publius’ father is healed along with the rest of the sick islanders.
Is this guy insane? Is he second to Jesus? How can he be this way? Back in Acts 27:23 it gives us a clue: an angel told him he would stand before Caesar. It’s that simple. God gave Paul a word and he believed Him. Paul knew he wouldn’t die by shipwreck or snakebite because God had told him. Pfft what’s a snake bite, what’s being shipwrecked but a light and momentary affliction (Paul’s words in 2 Cor 4:17).
This guy is crazy good. He is about God’s business and reliant on God’s word and instruction. While I may not be experiencing literal shipwrecks and snakebites, when I experience hardship, may I be like Paul and hold fast to God’s word and character and continue moving forward and not be sidelined or side tracked by momentary afflictions.
Written by Gab Martin