Shipwrecked—The Maltese

(Acts 28:1-10)

Fourteen days in stormy seas and shipwrecked on a strange island is likely to make any act of helpfulness appear out of the ordinary. Luke describes the reception that he, Paul, the other prisoners, and the ship’s crew received after being washed up on the shores of Malta, as ‘extraordinary kind.’But their levels of kindness appeared to be rivalled by their degrees of superstition.The next three days or so must have been a theological roller-coaster for these locals. Who wouldn’t be unusually kind to a group who survived, to a man, the angry gods of the seas. But that doesn’t stop people from expecting the worst when dealing with a convict ship. That vindicating adrenaline rush came when Paul was bitten by a snake. But when their built-in ‘karma’ stopwatches went overtime, and Paul didn’t swell up and die, they were forced to consider that the man who shook off a viper into the fire, may in fact be one of the gods. Every Island has at least one rich man in a big house. Publius, the chief official of the island, was that man. Publius entertained Paul and Luke for three days at his home. We know nothing of the impact that Paul’s preaching had at that time. We know that he miraculously cured Publius’ sick father, and the rest of those who were sick on the island.Finally, they showed their appreciation by supplying all their needs when setting sail.It is easy for us to forget that Paul and Luke were incredibly impressive people. Their faith would not have gone unnoticed among the Maltese. God used a torturous sea voyage to bring them to Malta. Everyone witnessed the peace of mind that Paul had; a peace inspired by faith. To be seen and heard to be men of faith was enough. It is always the Holy Spirit who convicts a man unto repentance, or unto rebellion. In heaven we will meet our Maltese brethren. Until then, like Paul and Luke, we will ride the storms of faith and preach to whomever we meet along the way.


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