God’s Mercy Overflows (Part 2)
Acts 28:5 However, he shook the creature off into the fire and suffered no harm.
The “certain island” Paul said they must land upon was Malta. Every one of the 276 people on board made it to land. No lives were lost as God had promised Paul.
Those from the shipwreck were welcomed, with the locals building a fire. Paul gathered wood to put it on the fire, and a poisonous snake and attached itself to his hand. He just shock it off into the fire – the viper was a minor distraction to him. The local people expected him to die, and thought he was a murderer that the goddess of justice would not allow to live. They watched him, but Paul continued to live. They then thought he was a god. How quickly they gossiped and how quickly their minds changed!
The leading man of the island, Publius, welcomed them and entertained them for three days. His father was ill, and Paul prayed for him and laid his hands on him. The man was healed. Word of this spread on the island, so other people came and were healed by Paul’s prayers.
God’s mercy to Paul was overflowing to the passengers on the ship as they did not perish in the sea. But, God did not stop there – he made the locals notice Paul by having a snake try to attack him. He also had a leader of the island be kind to everyone, and had Paul heal a sick man, so that the people of the island and those from the ship would know that God can heal. They could see the glory of God and had a chance to see Jesus as Lord.
The two week storm had led Paul to a place in which people were open to the gospel and he could hold a healing revival. Scripture does not say that Paul preached the gospel – just that he prayed for healing. However, Paul’s mode of operation was always to talk of Jesus to anyone who would listen – and the healing gave him an audience.
The trip to Rome as interrupted so that more people could know Jesus. How merciful is our God!
Sometimes hardships and interruptions open doors to ministry. My husband was very ill in our first year of marriage – at one point I wondered whether I would be a widow before our first anniversary. One day, when my husband had recovered enough that he could sit in a room and visit with me, a man came in, with worry written all over him. I was able to ask him if we could pray for him, saying that my husband was a minister, and that I understood how it felt to be concerned about a family member. The man’s mother was indeed very ill – and we had a chance to minister to him. He later talked privately with my husband. God had used a situation that was unpleasant for us both to open a door of ministry to an individual who greatly needed encouragement.
Lord Jesus, when interruptions and hardships come, help me be open to see the ministry opportunities that may arise with the situation.
CC: K Carswell, 2023
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible, Copyright 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by Permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible, Holman CSB and HCSB are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.