“There was an estate nearby that belonged to Publius, the chief official of the island. He welcomed us to his home and showed us generous hospitality for three days. His father was sick in bed, suffering from fever and dysentery. Paul went in to see him and, after prayer, placed his hands on him and healed him. When this had happened, the rest of the sick on the island came and were cured.” [Acts 28 :7-9]
They will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well...
As soon as the crew and passengers reached shore, they learned that they were on the island of Malta. Some of the natives of the island saw the shipwreck and witnessed the victims struggling through the water to get to shore. They very graciously build a fire for the new arrivals, who were thoroughly drenched and cold, both from the sea and from the rain.
When Paul was helping with the fire, he was bitten by a poisonous snake. It fastened on his hand, not just in the sense of coiling on it, but actually biting it. At first the local citizens concluded the apostle must be a murderer. Although he had escaped from the shipwreck, yet justice was tracking him down and he would soon swell up or suddenly fall down dead. When Paul showed no ill effects from the snake bite, they changed their minds and decided he was a god! This is another vivid illustration of the fickleness and changeableness of the human heart and mind.
The leading citizen of the island of Malta at that time was Publius. This wealthy Roman official received Paul and his friends courteously, and provided accommodations for them for three days, until permanent quarters could be arranged in which they would spend the winter. The kindness of this Gentile did not go unrewarded. At about that time, his father took sick with fever and dysentery. Paul went in to him and prayed, and he laid his hands on him and healed him. News of this healing miracle spread quickly throughout the island. During the next three months the sick were brought to Paul and were all cured.
"..they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well." [Mark 16:18]
Paul Ashore on Malta Island
The islanders showed us unusual kindness. They built a fire and welcomed us all because it was raining and cold. Paul gathered a pile of brushwood and, as he put it on the fire, a viper, driven out by the heat, fastened itself on his hand. When the islanders saw the snake hanging from his hand, they said to each other, “This man must be a murderer; for though he escaped from the sea, the goddess Justice has not allowed him to live.” But Paul shook the snake off into the fire and suffered no ill effects. The people expected him to swell up or suddenly fall dead; but after waiting a long time and seeing nothing unusual happen to him, they changed their minds and said he was a god. [Acts 28:1-6]
A snake hanging from Paul's hand