Paul Faith Validates God’s Work in their Midst

Faith sees the invisible, believes the incredible, and receives the impossible. (Source Unknown, Lou Nicholes - Missionary/Author).

Faith

Paul continued to minister to others, even as a ship-wrecked prisoner. On this trip alone, his centurion, the chief official of Malta, and many others were affected. Is it any wonder that the Gospel spread like wildfire? How do we interpret signs and wonders? We first need to go back to the Scriptures and look at the context in which they take place, and then we need to look within that context and try to see what God is really doing.

Publius, who evidently had an estate on the island near the shipwreck, generously gave hospitality to the castaways (v. 7). This was no small thing considering how many there were. It seems that the father of Publius suffered from a fever and dysentery that were beyond the medical cures of the day. When Paul found out about this, he went to see the sick man, and after praying and the laying on of hands, the man was healed (v. 8).

This news spread swiftly throughout the island, and others flocked in to see Paul and to be healed (v. 9). There is no record that any were turned away, and no one was told that he could have been healed if he had exercised more faith, as we sometimes hear from so-called faith healers today. It is good to remember that Paul could exercise the gift of healing; yet he himself continued to bear his own thorn in the flesh. Beethoven, for instance, gave to the world symphonies of music, when he himself was stone deaf and was never able to hear it. Paul was simply manifesting the gift of healing as it had been given to the early church to validate its message.

What do you think Paul’s former shipmates thought as they watched this take place?  It is for certain that he had won the hearts of the islanders. They showered Paul and his friends with honors, and when it came time for them to leave, they loaded them down with provisions for the voyage (v. 10).

Application

If I had been the centurion and had watched all that had happened at sea and on the island, how would I have felt about Paul and the Christian faith? James said, “Faith without works is dead.” Lord, help me to be a person whose works give proof of my faith.

Acts 28:7-10 (English Standard Version)

Now in the neighborhood of that place were lands belonging to the chief man of the island, named Publius, who received us and entertained us hospitably for three days. It happened that the father of Publius lay sick with fever and dysentery. And Paul visited him and prayed, and putting his hands on him healed him. And when this had taken place, the rest of the people on the island who had diseases also came and were cured. They also honored us greatly, and when we were about to sail, they put on board whatever we needed.

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