each other, “This man must be a murderer; for though he escaped from
the sea, the goddess Justice has not allowed him to live.”5 But Paul
shook the snake off into the fire and suffered no ill effects. 6 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."
Here is another example of a miracle that is confusing for the people
who witness it. In other stories such as this, the one involved in the
miracle immediately refutes any claim to authority themselves outside
of that which has been given by Jesus. Paul doesn't do that in this
case. Luke simply moves on in the telling of the story, with Paul first
healing the father of the chief official of the island of Malta,
followed by healing of all those who were sick on the island. I'm not
inferring that Paul had delusions of grandeur, or was now claiming his
own authority… just that it is an interesting omission from Luke who
usually provides lots of detail. Because of these events, it seems, the
believers in Rome were prepared for, and excited for Paul's arrival.
Once in Rome, Paul preached tirelessly and many people became followers
"2829 “Therefore I want you to know that God’s salvation has been sent
to the Gentiles, and they will listen!”30 For two whole years Paul
stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see
him. 31 He proclaimed the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord
Jesus Christ—with all boldness and without hindrance!"
It is interesting to me how abruptly the book of Acts ends. It seems
like there is more of the story to tell… but maybe that is the point.
Maybe the point is not to focus wholly on what happened, but instead
for us, the reader to know that there IS MORE TO THE STORY… and we
are writing it with our lives. As followers of Jesus… as the Church
today, how are we writing the next chapter and the next? Are we
continuing in this legacy of boldly proclaiming the risen Jesus or are
we just going about our business of "doing church?"