One of the closing narratives in Luke’s second book shows how opinions drastically change and with little to anchor the mind to the facts. Paul had been a murderer, was on his way to Rome to be tried for crimes alleged by opponents of the Christian church and of Paul in particular. Temporarily stranded on Malta, Paul is the subject of changing islander opinion.
Saved from death at sea: Paul and his fellow travelers are fortunate
“When they had been brought safely through, then we found out that the island was called Malta. The natives showed us extraordinary kindness; for because of the rain that had set in and because of the cold, they kindled a fire and received us all.Acts 28:1-2
Snakebitten: Paul’s a man with whom justice had caught up
But when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and laid them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat and fastened itself on his hand. When the natives saw the creature hanging from his hand, they began saying to one another, “Undoubtedly this man is a murderer, and though he has been saved from the sea, justice has not allowed him to live.”(Acts 28:3-4
Survivor of snakebite: Paul’s a god
However he shook the creature off into the fire and suffered no harm. But they were expecting that he was about to swell up or suddenly fall down dead. But after they had waited a long time and had seen nothing unusual happen to him, they changed their minds and began to say that he was a god.Acts 28:5-6
Change is especially good when it concerns the mind in the direction of facts and truth. These islander witnesses to Paul’s shipwreck and venomous snakebite experiences were repeatedly wrong.