A Word From The Pastor

There Came a Viper

March 22, 2015
Pastor Kaiser
Acts 28:3-6 And when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks, and laid them on the fire, there came a viper out of the heat, and fastened on his hand. And when the barbarians saw the venomous beast hang on his hand, they said among themselves, No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he hath escaped the sea, yet vengeance suffereth not to live. And he shook off the beast into the fire, and felt no harm. Howbeit they looked when he should have swollen, or fallen down dead suddenly: but after they had looked a great while, and saw no harm come to him, they changed their minds, and said that he was a god.
 
   Acts 28:3-6 And when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks, and laid them on the fire, there came a viper out of the heat, and fastened on his hand. And when the barbarians saw the venomous beast hang on his hand, they said among themselves, No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he hath escaped the sea, yet vengeance suffereth not to live. And he shook off the beast into the fire, and felt no harm. Howbeit they looked when he should have swollen, or fallen down dead suddenly: but after they had looked a great while, and saw no harm come to him, they changed their minds, and said that he was a god.
   The Apostle Paul and the men that he was travelling with headed for Rome became shipwreck on the island of Melita.  Just before the ship was broken in pieces Paul had told the sailors, ye should have hearkened unto me, but as men sometimes do, they refused to listen to the Preacher and ended up shipwreck.  Nonetheless God made sure that no life was loss as the ship sank to the bottom of the sea.  Even when we are utterly unreasonable God will so often still protect us. 
   The writer of the book of Acts is Luke who was also a doctor.  Luke travelled with Paul quite a bit and records for us here how rapidly the crowd can make someone to be small and then great, wicked and then a god.  When Paul laid the sticks that he had gathered upon the fire and the snake came out to bite him in the hand these “barbarians” immediately spoke to one another “no doubt this man is a murderer.”  It is no new thing that when something bad happens to someone the accusations fly and they are commonly blamed for doing something evil and are now being paid back.  But this is not always the reason for bad things in our life.  After the barbarians discovered that Paul was not hurt by the snake they “changed their minds, and said that he was a god.”  So these barbarians went from one extreme to another and both extremes were wrong.  Paul was not a murderer and he was not a god. 
   We should all be careful of being too extreme and careful to be slow in judging situations.  The very reason that someone is going through a hard time could be that others would see the power of God, which was the case here with Paul in the book of Acts.