To make a statement, to make a point, we often go for the biggest impact possible, right?
We want to show we are fit and healthy so we take on an ultra-endurance event.
We want to show we are intellectually capable so we read verbose and difficult books.
We want to show our spouses that we love them so we buy lavish and elaborate gifts.
To show the power of God at work in their lives here in Malta Paul and the gang start right at the top:
“Now in the region around that place were fields belonging to the chief official of the island, named Publius, who welcomed us and entertained us hospitably as guests for three days. The father of Publius lay sick in bed, suffering from fever and dysentery. Paul went in to see him and after praying, placed his hands on him and healed him. After this had happened, many of the people on the island who were sick also came and were healed. They also bestowed many honors, and when we were preparing to sail, they gave us all the supplies we needed.”
(Acts 28.7-10, NET)
Paul demonstrates the power of God to heal with possibly the most famous family of Malta at the time. The chief official of the island was a title given to Rome’s representative and, so, Publius and the father of Publius would have been almost universally known across the island. News of the healing spreads and soon many of the people on the island who were sick also came and were healed.
One point to ponder would be if in the ensuing three months (v.11) many came to a saving faith in Jesus. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians that there is always a reason behind miraculous expressions of God’s power, that spiritual gifts are not random and indiscriminate (12.7, for example). The same is seen with the miraculous signs Jesus performs in the book of John.
It can be interesting to ponder these unanswered questions from Scripture, but only to a point. Instead, let us focus on what happened and what we know: God healed many through the work of Paul et al. on Malta. Beyond that, the work of igniting the fire of faith is His work and His work alone:
“I planted, Apollos watered, but God caused it to grow. So neither the one who plants counts for anything, nor the one who waters, but God who causes the growth.”
(1 Corinthians 3.6-7, NET, emphasis added)