September 14, 2021 - Acts 28:1-10
Most people that know me understand that I am not a lover of snakes. I do not like the unexpected presence of a slithery serpent as I walk along a path or work in the yard. My grandchildren think it is hilarious to surprise me with plastic snakes and even some of my church people have surprised me with a stuffed snake in my office.
Paul was on a mission for God to proclaim Jesus Christ to Caesar and the officials of the Roman empire. His journey had been filled with danger, near death experiences and sabotage. In every situation the Lord had demonstrated that He was in control and had spoken directly to Paul of His intentions and plans. Amid hatred, violence, governmental ineptitude and shipwreck, Paul was steadfastly led by the Holy Spirit toward Rome.
Now on an island, freshly out of the ocean, and marooned on a beach, Paul is confronted with a new opportunity and trial. Along with the two hundred seventy-five people shivering during the storm and seeking shelter, Paul is gathering wood for a fire when a viper strikes and attaches itself on his hand. This new hardship became the occasion for Paul to proclaim Christ once again where there appeared to be no opportunity.
The natives watched in anticipation for Paul to fall dead as a result of the snake bite. When he did not die, they exclaimed him to be a god and brought Paul to be introduced to the ruling authorities. As this healing occurred, the island witnesses the power of God as Paul prayed and presented the message of his God to these islanders!
In the worst of circumstances, shipwrecked, marooned, snakebit and still a prisoner, Paul demonstrated how to proclaim a message to people who need the Lord! Irrespective of his position or stature, Paul absolutely believed he was placed there to present Jesus Christ. May we look beyond the circumstances we find ourselves in and expect Christ to provide possibilities for us to witness for our Savior. Be watching, perhaps Christ will put a "snake" of some sort in our path today to enable us to share Christ!