devotion 12-17-15

Acts 27:42 – 44

42The soldiers’ plan was to kill the prisoners, so that none might swim away and escape; 43but the centurion, wishing to save Paul, kept them from carrying out their plan. He ordered those who could swim to jump overboard first and make for the land, 44and the rest to follow, some on planks and others on pieces of the ship. And so it was that all were brought safely to land.

Acts 28:1-6

After we had reached safety, we then learned that the island was called Malta. 2The natives showed us unusual kindness. Since it had begun to rain and was cold, they kindled a fire and welcomed all of us round it. 3Paul had gathered a bundle of brushwood and was putting it on the fire, when a viper, driven out by the heat, fastened itself on his hand. 4When the natives saw the creature hanging from his hand, they said to one another, ‘This man must be a murderer; though he has escaped from the sea, justice has not allowed him to live.’ 5He, however, shook off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm. 6They were expecting him to swell up or drop dead, but after they had waited a long time and saw that nothing unusual had happened to him, they changed their minds and began to say that he was a god.

The island of Malta is an interesting place, one of those cross-roads that has been ruled by various nations over the course of the centuries. The last was Great Britain, until the 1970’s. And so, they drive on the wrong side of the street in Malta! For centuries, the Knights of Saint John the Baptist, also called the Knights of Malta, held the island against the threat of the Ottoman Empire. The medieval fortresses of the Knights are still a part of the old city. Driving along the highway, we saw the Bay of Saint Paul, said to be where Paul was shipwrecked. On Malta, any statues or paintings of Saint Paul include a snake, in reference to this scripture. I am attaching photos of Malta.

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