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Acts 28:1-10 – The Island of Malta

Shipwrecked on the island of Malta, Paul and the survivors are showed unusual kindness. As God had granted Paul favor by the Roman centurion so this theme continues. When Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and put them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat and fastened on his hand. The islanders anticipate his immediate death as a result. Being drowned at sea or bitten by a snake was viewed by many in the ancient world as a divine judgment. The islanders refer to this as the work of the goddess of Justice. Paul’s non-death not only indicates his innocence (which has been a theme in Acts 21-28) but also results in a change of mind whereby they think of him as a god in human form. This reminds us of the beginning of Paul’s mission to the Gentiles where those at Lystra made the same judgment. At that time Paul spoke the gospel. While his speaking is not referred to here presumably it did occur because for the last time we hear of signs and wonders being performed. The outcome is that Paul is honored, and his needs are supplied for his final journey leg to Rome.