June 21st Acts, 28
1: And when they were escaped, then they knew that the island was called Melita. 2: And the barbarous people shewed us no little kindness: for they kindled a fire, and received us every one, because of the present rain, and because of the cold. 3: 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. 4: 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. 5: And he shook off the beast into the fire, and felt no harm. 6: 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. 7: In the same quarters were possessions of the chief man of the island, whose name was Publius; who received us, and lodged us three days courteously. 8: 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. 9: So when this was done, others also, which had diseases in the island, came, and were healed: 10: Who also honoured us with many honours; and when we departed, they laded us with such things as were necessary. 11: And after three months we departed in a ship of Alexandria, which had wintered in the isle, whose sign was Castor and Pollux. 12: And landing at Syracuse, we tarried there three days. 13: And from thence we fetched a compass, and came to Rhegium: and after one day the south wind blew, and we came the next day to Puteoli: 14: Where we found brethren, and were desired to tarry with them seven days: and so we went toward Rome. 15: And from thence, when the brethren heard of us, they came to meet us as far as Appii forum, and The three taverns: whom when Paul saw, he thanked God, and took courage.
And so they journey onward to Rome. They had arrived on the Island we now call Malta. A tiny spec in the Mediterranean. If they had missed this island they would have been dashed on the coast of Tunisia or maybe swept into the western Mediterranean. The people of the island although they were not civilised showed a lot of kindness and they had lit a bonfire to warm the survivors, inspite of the rain and cold. When Paul was helping to gather woof for the fire a viper came out of the heat and bit him on the hand. The people assumed that this was a judgment of God for murder or something and that he would fall down dead. Paul held it over the fire and the snake fell into the flames. The islanders watched him but it had no effect on him. After a long time they began to think he was a god. In the quarters where they lodged there were possessions belonging to Publius. He received them and was very hospitable. At that time Publius’s father was sick with a fever so Paul prayed for him and raised him up. Other people brought their sick and they were healed. This must have had a profound effect on the centurion looking after Paul. After three months they all set sail for Syracuse on eastern Sicily, on a ship from Alexandria called Castor and Pollux. They stayed there for three days and then sailed to Rhegium on the very tip of Italy then when a favourable wind blew they passed through the channel to the western side of Italy. They landed at Pozzuoli where they stayed for seven days before setting off for Rome on the Appian Way. (From 1982 to 1984 there were hundreds of earthquakes here culminating with a great quake which damaging 8,000 buildings in the city centre and dislocating 36,000 people, many permanently. The events raised the sea bottom by almost 2 m, and rendered the Bay of Pozzuoli too shallow for large craft.) When it became known that Paul was coming people came to Appii forum and The tree taverns to meet him on his way. When Paul met them to was encouraged and thanked God.