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The Good Seed - Sunday, June 18, 2017
by GBV Dillenburg GmbH

And when they were escaped, then they knew that the island was called Melita. And the barbarous people showed us no little kindness: for they kindled a fire, and received us every one, because of the present rain, and because of the cold. And when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks, and laid them on the fire, there came a viper out of the heat, and fastened on his hand. And when the barbarians saw the venomous beast hang on his hand, they said among themselves, No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he hath escaped the sea, yet vengeance suffereth not to live. And he shook off the beast into the fire, and felt no harm. Howbeit they looked when he should have swollen, or fallen down dead suddenly: but after they had looked a great while, and saw no harm come to him, they changed their minds, and said that he was a god. In the same quarters were possessions of the chief man of the island, whose name was Publius; who received us, and lodged us three days courteously. And it came to pass, that the father of Publius lay sick of a fever and of a bloody flux: to whom Paul entered in, and prayed, and laid his hands on him, and healed him. So when this was done, others also, which had diseases in the island, came, and were healed: Who also honoured us with many honours; and when we departed, they laded us with such things as were necessary.
Acts 28:1-10

Thoughts on the book of Acts (10)
The inhabitants of the island welcomed the shipwrecked people with a fire to warm them. Paul readily and circumspectly gathered brushwood to keep the fire alight. When he was bitten by a snake, the islanders regarded it as the revenge of their gods. Paul must be a murderer and was being punished (v.4). But the apostle rested on the Lord’s promise that he would be brought to Rome (ch 23:11;27:24). So he calmly shook the snake into the fire. Since the venom had no effect, the islanders altered their conclusion (v.6).
After his resurrection, Jesus had mentioned various signs that would confirm the gospel preached by the apostles (cf. Mark 16:18; Hebrews 2:3-4; 2 Corinthians 12:12). Among them were healing the sick and no harm arising from snakebites and their venom. These signs, sometimes called “signs of the apostles”, were evident on various occasions in the apostle Paul’s life.
(to be continued next Sunday)
Today’s reading: Acts 7:1-19


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