Monday, December 21, 2009

A Winter Vacation on the way to Rome


1 -2 Once everyone was accounted for and we realized we had all made it, we learned that we were on the island of Malta.
The natives went out of their way to be friendly to us.
The day was rainy and cold and we were already soaked to the bone, but they built a huge bonfire and gathered us around it.
3 -6 Paul pitched in and helped. He had gathered up a bundle of sticks, but when he put it on the fire, a venomous snake, roused from its torpor by the heat, struck his hand and held on.
Seeing the snake hanging from Paul's hand like that, the natives jumped to the conclusion that he was a murderer getting his just deserts.
Paul shook the snake off into the fire, none the worse for wear.
They kept expecting him to drop dead, but when it was obvious he wasn't going to, they jumped to the conclusion that he was a god!
7 -9 The head man in that part of the island was Publius. He took us into his home as his guests, drying us out and putting us up in fine style for the next three days.
Publius's father was sick at the time, down with a high fever and dysentery. Paul went to the old man's room, and when he laid hands on him and prayed, the man was healed.
Word of the healing got around fast, and soon everyone on the island who was sick came and got healed.
10 -11 We spent a wonderful three months on Malta. They treated us royally, took care of all our needs and outfitted us for the rest of the journey. When an Egyptian ship that had wintered there in the harbor prepared to leave for Italy, we got on board.
The ship had a carved Gemini for its figurehead: "the Heavenly Twins."
12 -14 We put in at Syracuse for three days and then went up the coast to Rhegium. Two days later, with the wind out of the south, we sailed into the Bay of Naples. We found Christian friends there and stayed with them for a week."

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