JohnSWilson3 Blog

“The islanders showed us unusual kindness.”
February 15, 2010, 1:50 am
Filed under: E Acts

In Acts chapter 28 we come to the conclusion of the letter that Luke wrote as a sequel to his gospel of the life of Jesus Christ. The end of the letter brings us some 30 years after the resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ and the birth of His body, the church. It is also roughly been 25 years since Paul’s dramatic conversion when the Lord touched Him on the Damascus road. In that space and time Christ has found living expressions of Himself, His ecclesia, from Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the known world. His people when living by His Spirit have been His witnesses, visible expressions of His life on this earth! May we do likewise!

Paul and his companions, after the ship wreck, “found out that the island was called Malta.” God continued to show His people favor as His people expressed His life to those around them. “The islanders showed us unusual kindness” Luke states. Interestingly, Luke describes a story of Paul as he was helping build “a fire” because of the rain and cold weather. As he put a “pile of brushwood” “on the fire, a viper, driven out by the heat, fastened itself on his hand.” It is reminiscent of the words of Jesus from the gospel according to Mark how “they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all.” In fulfillment of Jesus’ words “Paul shook the snake off into the fire and suffered no ill effects. 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.”

And then the next story of Paul, that Luke describes, is about “Publius, the chief official of the island” who had “welcomed us to his home and for three days entertained us hospitably. 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. When this happened the rest of the sick on the island came and were cured.” Strikingly, Mark also mentions in his gospel, that after Jesus mentioned how picking up snakes would not hurt them that “they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.” While the healing of the sick seemed to be consistent throughout Acts as representative of the manifestation of Jesus Christ so that He might be glorified among those observing it, it seems Luke is seeing what is happening as representative of bringing his letter of what God has done in the early church to closure.

Paul and his companions along with the centurion and soldiers finally “put out to sea in a ship that had wintered in the island.” They travel from seaport to seaport. Finally they reach the mainland, the chief port of Rome. Paul and his companions “found some brothers who invited us to spend a week with them.” What an amazing story or stories Paul and his companions would share with the brothers for the week they spent with them! No doubt everyone was encouraged as they mutually shared the life of Christ with each other! Paul must have been thinking of his letter to the Roman Christians how he had longed “to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong – that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.”

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