Paul and company made it safely to land. To an island they had no clue to its location, but they were at least safe from the sea. Now we get to meet the natives.
If you have ever watched Gilligan’s Island you will realize that not all natives are friendly. But that’s in TV land so who knows how accurate that is. But this island has very kind people. Luke even calls them unusually kind. They saw our travelers needs and began meeting them without even a request being made. They did what they could right there on the beach for this cold and wet group.
Our travelers didn’t sit ideally by though but pitched right in and helped gather wood for the fire. I would have loved to hear the topic of conversation around the fire that day. Was Paul witnessing to the men who had just received a miracle from God? Were they recounting stories of past voyages? Were they planning out what their next move was? I’m thinking the first one MUST have happened at least a part of the time.
I have a feeling that the natives and our travelers didn’t share a common language. My thinking behind this is that they didn’t approach Paul about the snake bite. They simply observed him and waited for what they thought was the inevitable. They had never seen someone survive such an attack. They knew the snakes on their island and knew their effect. They had no other explanation to give when Paul didn’t die than to assume he was a god. No, just one of God’s men who He was still in need of here on earth.
Paul’s survival may have been the catalyst that encouraged the natives to bring the group o the chief man on the island. Who wouldn’t want to introduce their “new found god” to the boss? “You will NEVER guess who we have found!”
Was Publius a native of the island? Had he received an education in the Roman language? Or was he a transplant to the island and had become their leader by cohesion? I’m thinking he was probably a native because his father was with him there. However he became the leader of this people, he was able to interact well with Paul and company.
The people of Malta had no idea that the man who landed on their shore would change their world so miraculously. They helped him and he returned their kindness in spades. What prompted Publius to tell Paul about his father? Did the Holy Spirit prompt Paul to ask? Did it come up during dinner conversation? Was Publius rushing back and forth to check on his father?
Paul’s group only stayed with Publius for three days but their short time with him touched many native lives. I wonder how many were healed. Where did they stay the rest of their time on the island? Did they find others to stay with or did they set up their own lodging? Did the natives continue to bring sick or injured people to them after they left Publis? Did Paul teach the people about God while they were there? He seemed to plant seed wherever he went. If he did, did he use an interpreter or did the Holy Spirit take on that task?
The shipwreck was a blessing for the island of Malta. Julius’ stubbornness benefited many people. Triumph snatched from the jaws of tragedy again, thanks to God! And who knows what grew from that seed planted there that winter.
Father God, thanks again for redeeming our mistakes. Thank You also for Your powerful witness. Words alone cannot contain all You do. Paul was a living witness for You by simply being available whenever the need presented itself. I’m SURE he redirected the people’s belief that he was a god. If not they would really have bought into that theory when the people were being healed. Paul lived out his witness for You every day in every way he could. That’s the kind of witness I want to be. The one who sees the need without being asked. The one who brings it to YOU instead of trying to solve it on my own for my own glory. The one who points straight to You for every good work. The one who is always willing to help in the next instance too instead of feeling like I have done enough. Paul didn’t turn people away because he was tired. He helped until there were no more requests for help. Then I believe he taught anyone who would listen where to find the source for themselves. Please ALWAYS remind me to do that step.