Snake handler, healer, preacher!
Scripture reading for July 11th: Acts 28:1-31
With the prisoners and crew safely on shore and accounted for, they all settled in to wait out the stormy winter season in the harbor on Malta. The people on the island welcomed them and built a fire to help warm up the cold shipwreck victims. As Paul gathered some brushwood and placed it on the fire, a viper fastened itself to his hand. Paul shook the snake back into the fire and the islanders watched him to see if he would die! (Acts 28:4-6) He was not affected!
Publius, the chief official on the island welcomed Paul into his home and Paul ended up praying for his sick father and the Lord healed him. Others were brought and Paul prayed for many and they were cured! God used this time of shipwreck to further His work on this island of Malta! The people helped supply all the needs of those who had been shipwrecked and after three months they set sail again.
Upon arrival in Puteoli, Paul found some fellow believers and was allowed to stay with them for a week. In Rome, Paul was allowed to live by himself with just one soldier to guard him. Paul invited leaders of the Jews to come to his room and he told them how he got there. They had not heard anything from Judea and wanted to hear what Paul had to say. He then took liberty to share the message of the Kingdom of God and tried to convince them that Jesus was the Christ from Moses and the Prophets! (Acts 28:1-31) Some believed and others did not and a dispute arose. Paul warned them from the Scriptures about having calloused hearts and told them that God had sent him to the Gentiles. (Acts 28:28)
The Book of Acts has no formal ending. The last record of all that Jesus began to do and teach through the Church was that of Paul preaching the Gospel for two years from his own rented house! There is no formal ending because this story is still being written today by believers around the world! Jesus is still using believers like Paul to tell His story and share the Gospel of the Kingdom. All who believe are saved and those who refuse to believe are lost! What a glorious mystery!