Scripture Reading:  Acts 28:1-10

“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.”  (Acts 28:8,9)

Paul had been taken as a prisoner on a voyage to Rome.  A terrible storm caused the ship he was traveling on to wreck. It must have been a frightening experience.  The crew along with the passengers were able to get safely on the Island of Malta (v. 1).  It was cold and rainy (v. 2) and the travelers must have been tired and miserable.  To make things worse, Paul was bitten by a poisonous snake, but he suffered no real harm (vs. 3-5).  Paul had suffered a great deal — being taken as a prisoner, experiencing the frightening shipwreck, getting on the island exhausted and weary, where it was cold and rainy, and then, of all things, to be bitten by a snake!  My attitude would not have been very positive, to say the least.

While on the island, Paul continued to serve.  He healed the father of the chief man of the Island.  Paul visited the elderly man, prayed and laid hands on him (v. 8).  When the man was healed, people who heard about the incident, who had diseases, began to come to Paul.  In spite of all that Paul suffered, he continued to minister and to serve the people on this island.

Throughout his ministry, Paul saw himself as a servant of Christ (see:  Romans 1:1).  He wrote these words to the Corinthians:  “But as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way:  by great endurance, in affliction, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger” (II Corinthians 6:9,10).  In spite of all the hardships, suffering and rejection Paul experienced, he continued to serve people in the name of Jesus.

All Christians are called to be servants of Christ.  No matter what circumstances we face, we are called always to commend ourselves to service, following the example of our Lord Jesus Christ who said, “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many”  (Mark 10:45).  During His extreme suffering on the cross, Jesus ministered to the thief who hung on the cross next to him and to His mother who was grieving at His feet.

Lord Jesus, Suffering Servant, thank You for the agony You endured on my behalf.  You did not come to be served but to serve and to give Yourself as a ransom for me.  Enable me to serve others through Your presence in my life.  I wonder if I could have been the servant Paul was given the same circumstances.  I also know that Paul was able to serve as he did because of Your presence and power in his life.  Grant me that same power today to serve others.


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