So I guess the two alternatives are either Paul is a murderer with whom God is catching up, or he is a god himself. That seems to be the only two choices that the natives of Malta are able to consider. Look at vs. 4 and vs. 6. and you see the gradual evolution of this thought. Paul was an anomaly to those living in Malta. Here was someone that the ocean just offered up to them, and he is handling snakes. If you look at Mark 16:18 or Luke 10:19 you find Scriptures where Jesus after his resurrection sends out his disciples with power to do all things, including handling snakes. Okay, we aren’t going to go there, but if you needed a biblical precedent, here it is. Remember, the Bible does not say that we should try to pick up snakes and see if they will bite us, I call that tempting the Lord.
Paul becomes a big crowd pleaser and the natives send him off with all sorts of goodies and care packages. Then on to Rome. In Rome one of the places that I take all of the groups that I lead, from mission groups to tourist groups, we always stop by the Mamertine prison which according to legend is where both Peter and Paul were incarcerated. Here is a picture of it:
But I’m confused. According to chapter 28 Paul didn’t stay in a “prison”. If you look at vs.16 we see that Paul was able to stay with the soldier who was guarding him, by himself. Well, maybe it works. It is also legend that Peter was incarcerated in this same prison before he was crucified upside down.
As a prisoner Paul wasted no time in calling together the Jewish community together so that he could share with them the good news of Jesus. He does that and appropriately the book of Acts ends with Paul telling all who were gathered that even the gentiles have been given the green light to salvation. This was the consistent theme which was debated and throughout this book of the Bible, and it is one that once and for is put to rest. Yes, Jesus did come for everyone, and I mean everyone.
Here is a link to a youtube video about the life of Paul that Sally Reinhart highly recommends.