Reflection on Acts 28:1-16

Scripture

The people waited for him to swell up or suddenly drop dead. But when they had waited for a long time and saw that he wasn’t harmed, they changed their minds and decided he was a god.

Observation

The people on the island, which turned out to be Malta, welcome the shipwreck survivors and build a fire on the shore for them.

Paul gathers some sticks to lay on the fire, and a snake bites him on the hand. The locals decide that he must be a murderer to be punished like this. When he fails to show any ill effects, they decide he must be a god.

Paul and his companions go to the estate of Publius, the chief official of the island. Publius’s father is very ill, so Paul lays hands on him and heals him. All of the sick people on the island then come to Paul and all are healed.

Application

When Paul is bitten by the snake, the people of Malta assume that he must have done something bad to deserve it. But when Paul survives, they change their minds and declare him to be a god.

People are very quick to judge others when something bad befalls them. That judgement can be fickle as it was in the case of Paul.

We know that God is gracious and wants everyone to repent. He will pour out amazing quantities of grace to win over the worst of sinners.

Jesus reminds us that God sends sunshine and rain to both the righteous and the unrighteous alike. We cannot assume anyone’s state of holiness or favour with God by what is happening in their life at any time.

Prayer

Father, please forgive me for assuming things about those who are suffering and those who are prospering. Please help me to see all people as you see them. Amen.

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