After the crew and passengers reached the land, they learned that they had reached Malta. It was a small island about sixty-five or seventy miles south of Sicily.
The natives of Malta were very kind to the shipwrecked strangers. They immediately welcomed them with a fire to warm and dry themselves.
As Paul gathered wood to put on the fire, a very poisonous snake bit him on the hand. The Maltese people suspected that he was a murderer who had escaped the sea, but was now getting his justice from the snakebite. When he did not swell up and die immediately, but was unharmed, they then concluded that he was a god.
Many times, adversity provides an opportunity for doing good deeds. The father of Publius, the chief resident or ruler of the island was very sick. When Paul learned of his illness, he went in and prayed and laid his hands on him and healed him. The rest of the sick people on the island came to him and he healed them. As he healed those natives, he was presented with opportunities to teach them about Christ. There is no doubt that many people believed and obeyed the gospel. They also honored Paul’s companions and supplied them with many necessities.