Sun, Nov 07, 2021
In today’s passage, Acts 28: 1-6, we find our shipwreck survivor Paul on the island of Malta surrounded by kind and welcoming islanders. Incredibly, as he is warmed by their inviting campfire, he has to contend with a poisonous snake bite which the locals assumed would lead to his quick demise. However, Paul had an immunity from the “venom of vipers”, as Pastor Victor tells us in this powerful sermon. He succinctly delineates three things that render Paul immune from that which seeks to destroy him. Blessed immunity allows the apostle to shake off his potential killer to be consumed by the crackling fire.
The first thing that contributes to Paul’s immunity was that he was close to the proceedings of the people. Closeness to a community of caring people helps to protect you from life’s vicious venom. When we look back over our lives it is clear that the strength, support and encouragement of the community has been and always will be essential to our well-being and progress. A hospitable community helps to keep you from hurt, harm and even imminent danger.
Secondly, Paul’s proximity to the fire was also significant. The same fire that provided warmth to restore him after being subjected to the raging sea and harsh weather was there to extinguish the deadly snake. It is amazing that the beautiful, majestic fire allowed Paul to recover and also eliminate the snake. And finally, because Paul was on a prescribed path and his divine assignment to spread the gospel was not complete, his immunity sustained him to repel anything that threatened to end his life prematurely and halt his sacred mission.
Being close to the proceedings of the people allows the beloved community to embrace us with their support and their loving kindness, thereby sustaining humanity. Our proximity to the fire provides warmth and restoration while protecting us from the ill-intentioned adversary. The immunity God grants ensures we can shake off the proverbial snakes that sometimes rear their ugly heads, enabling us to stay the course, follow our prescribed path and finish our earthly assignment which is to serve the Lord.