Lesson Info:

Lesson 13 Summer Quarter
Lesson Text:  Acts 28:1-10
Golden Text:

Listen to Today’s Lesson


This week’s lesson is our final lesson for the quarter, which was titled, Servants and Healers.  For the last unit of lessons, we have been taken a look at – Faithful to Heal.  Within this unit of lessons for the month, we have seen that faith in the Lord is required in order for one to truly be healed by the Lord, whether that is physical and spiritual healing.

Our lesson this week is going to take a look at one final healing done on the island of Malta (Melita).  Today’s lesson is being taught from Acts 28:1-10.

Paul Ministers on Malta

Our lesson opens up on the island called Melita, or Malta as it is known today (v.1).   Malta is an island that is west of Greece and south of Italy.  Now, the reason we are here is because Paul and several others had shipwrecked on this island as they were being taken to Rome.  You see, by this point, Paul had been arrested for being the creator of dissension, according to the Jews (Acts 21:26-36; 24:1-6).

Essentially, Paul was accused by the Jewish leaders as some kind of rebel.  For this, Paul ended up being on a ship with several other criminals to be transported to Rome.  I also want to make a note that Luke, the writer of Luke’s gospel, was also on this ship.  Luke was not arrested, but as the writer of the book of Acts, he had been following Paul on this journey.

On the island of Malta

So, they shipwrecked on the island of Melita, but none of those that shipwrecked initially knew where they had landed until they were able to find out what the island was called.

Now, there were natives that lived on the island that were not considered to be Greeks (v.2).  We know that the natives were not Greeks because in his writings, according to the KJV translation, Luke called the people barbarous.  This was not to say that the natives were barbarians in the sense that we would think of them, but to say that the natives were not Greek.  Luke makes it very clear to us that the natives were very warm and welcoming to all of the people that had just shipwrecked.

The natives were also pagans; they had their own beliefs and their own traditions that opposed the Lord.  We know this bit of information because of what happened to Paul upon landing on the island.  We are told that Paul had gathered up a bunch of sticks to add to a fire and when he went to add the sticks to the fire, he was bitten by a viper on his hand (v.3).

Now, vipers are venomous snakes whose bites can be lethal especially without proper treatment.  So, in other words, getting bitten by a viper could be considered a death sentence.  The natives of Malta certainly thought Paul was cursed and that death was potentially knocking on his door.  They said, “no doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he has escaped the sea, yet justice does not allow to live (v.4).”

Now, here is where we see their paganism begin to kick in.  The viper had been hanging on Paul’s hand as he had to shake the creature off and into the fire (v.5).  Expecting Paul to suffer the side effects of the venom of the viper, the natives’ minds changed when they noticed that no harm had come upon Paul nor had he suddenly died.  So, they said that Paul was a god (v.6).

Ministering to the pagans

The natives certainly had some pagan beliefs and you have to imagine that they were ready to idolize Paul.  So, this would be a prime opportunity for Paul to, again, minister Christ to people.  By this point in time, Paul had been on three missionary journeys throughout the land and he had a great desire to visit Rome in order to minister the good news.  Paul was not one to ever shy away from the opportunity of letting someone know about Christ.

We are told that, in that region, there was a person named Publius, a leading citizen of the island that entertained – welcomed as guests – those of the shipwreck for three days (v.7).  Something that I do want to point out is Luke’s repeating of the fact of how kind and courteous those of Malta were.  Yes, they may have been pagans, but honestly, I find a lot of nonbelievers to be more courteous than those who profess to be of the faith.  I would suggest that this puts the believer in a poor light when we should actually be warm and welcoming to all people rather than being cold and closed off.

While they were at the estate of Publius, scripture tells us that Publius’ father became sick with a fever and dysentery (v.8).  Dysentery, very bad and painful diarrhea, was fairly common in those days.  People could actually die from dysentery due to the loss of nutrients and weight.

Paul went in to the man, prayed over the man, laid his hands on him, and the man was healed of his fever and dysentery.  This healing was a physical healing that was done through the work of the Holy Spirit.  Now, while this healing was a physical healing, I want you to see that it lead to a spiritual healing as well.

Our lesson closes out by saying that other natives who had diseases came to Paul and were healed (v.9).  Afterwards, the natives honored them in many ways and gave them necessary supplies when they departed to leave Malta (v.10).  With what we have read in scripture, and the lessons we had just as recently as last week, we may wonder whether or not the people actually became believers of God or maybe Paul?  Did they believe solely because of the miracle?

Take advantage of every opportunity

I believe these questions to be a very reasonable question to ask.  I say this because we saw already in our lesson where the natives thought Paul was a god.

Now, scripture does not talk about Paul preaching to the natives here but I am absolutely certain that Paul did not let the natives go about believing that he was a god.  Again, Paul was one that took every opportunity to speak and use his arms in ministering the word of God.  When people sought to give him or others praise, he would always humbly point their praise in the right direction.

The best example that I can think of this happening off the top of my head is seen within Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians.  In that letter, the Corinthians had a frame of mind that they would only listen to their favorite teachers or preachers.  Some would go around and say that they were “of Paul” and another would say that they were “of Apollos” (1 Cor. 3:1-3).  Paul said to the Corinthians that was a carnal way of thinking rather than a spiritual way of thinking.

Paul asked the Corinthians, who was he or Apollos to be praised in such a manner when they were nothing but ministers of God.  Paul said to the Corinthians, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase (1 Cor. 3:5-6).  Paul would not let the Corinthians think with a carnal mind and he would not do the same with anyone else.

Think about it:  Paul was with the natives of Malta for at least a week.  Do you really think Paul went a week with these people without speaking of Christ?  Paul certainly ministered Christ on that island and I believe the natives that gladly received the word of God became believers during that time.

Something I said at church while teaching last week’s lesson was that the Lord will put us in positions to minister the gospel where we least think it would be possible.  We, as servants of Christ, ought to be ready regardless of where we are to share the good news.  The Lord gives everyone an opportunity at salvation and whether we are on an isolated island or in a big city, we should be ready to speak of this opportunity with all people.

Thank You For Visiting New Found Faith

Sign up to our newsletter today so that you can stay up to date with New Found Faith