And it came to pass, that the father of Publius lay sick of a fever and of a bloody flux: to whom Paul entered in, and prayed, and laid his hands on him, and healed him. So when this was done, others also, which had diseases in the island, came, and were healed: ~Acts 28:8-9
Honey is a good natural sweetener to almost anything. Honey has been harvested and used for many, many years. There are medicinal qualities about honey as well. The name “Melita” means “honey.” The island was so named because of the vast amount of honey that was naturally produced by bees. Today, the island is known as Malta. This morning, we are studying a passage that depicts for us how the gospel got to an island in the Mediterranean Sea. We will be encouraged by the witness of the Apostle Paul, and how God used him to bring about “heavenly honey” on this island.
We see the PRUDENCE in his witness.
Paul was among 276 shipwrecked survivors which had just made it to shore on Melita after enduring a harrowing storm out in the Mediterranean Sea. We read in Acts 27:44 “that they escaped all safe to land.” While the shipmaster, his crew, and the Roman soldiers may have been flustered at being shipwrecked, Paul wisely saw opportunities there. Instead of focusing on what he did not have, he focused on what he did have! He had the timeless gospel of Jesus Christ to give to the people of Melita. Paul saw God using the storm and shipwreck to bring him to a place that needed the gospel as much as every place he had been previously. Prov. 11:30 says, “He that winneth souls is wise.” A wise soulwinner looks for opportunities to witness and win souls wherever he is.
We see the PRACTICAL in his witness.
The first thing we see Paul doing on Melita is joining with the native people in finding sticks and wood to place on the bonfire that had been made. The best witnessing we can do is by being practical. It is when we see immediate opportunities to do things with the people we are trying to minister to. Paul teaches us the importance of getting and staying involved with people. He teaches us the importance of becoming a known practical presence. He was the first and possibly the only survivor helping to gather sticks. Be practical and involved with people.
We see the PERSEVERANCE in his witness.
When we witness, we will always experience bumps in the road. First, Paul was bitten by a snake that came out of the fire. However, Paul shook off the venomous beast back into the fire. Satan attacks us unawares. Sometimes he latches on and stubbornly tries to hold on to us. Do like Paul and shake it off! Second, he became the immediate target of criticism and false allegations. However, the longer the people looked at him, they realized the snake bite did him no harm, and they had developed a wrong opinion of him. The thought here is this: don’t be someone who easily quits! When discouragement or opposition comes, shake it off, stand up tall, and keep witnessing.
We see the PROVIDENTIAL in his witness.
God used this incident to open the door for Paul to have an audience with Publius, the chief of the island. God knew Paul’s heart was pure. As Publius’ father lay in bed very ill, Paul used the influence he acquired to get an audience with this man. God healed this man! This opportunity would have never materialized if Paul had not let God work through his snake bite situation. Don’t overlook the providential in witnessing.
We see the POWER in his witness.
“Others also, which had diseases in the island, came, and were healed.” God’s power was at work. Paul became a man of great gospel influence, and was used of God to reach hundreds of others. God’s power was at work where human weakness was most evident.
Paul was God’s instrument in bringing about heavenly honey! The people of Melita had tasted and seen that the Lord was good. God uses us best when we yield to Him and allow Him to use us. Let our witness be one that delivers heavenly honey.
Have a soul-sensitive God Morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: 2 Chronicles 25-27