28:3 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 has escaped the sea, yet vengeance will not allow him to live."
Two things jump out from these verses. First is the stark realization of the roller coaster life is. They left that port where they should have stayed with a gentle south breeze and life was good. The storm came and life was bad. Then the promise came that none would die and life was a little better. They couldn't find any land and were running short of food. There hope was fading. Land! Life was better. In the process of trying to get there they hit a sand bar and the ship was pounder to pieces by the wave. Life was over it seemed... however miraculously they all made it to shore alive to be met by barbarians who were not only friendly but super hospitable. Life was suddenly looking up. Things were much better. Then poor Paul who has been under arrest for well over two years now for no reason has a viper latch onto his hand.
Life is indeed a roller coaster...
The second thing that jumps out is the reaction of the locals to the snake bite. They don't know Paul from Elvis yet their reaction/judgment is immediate. He must be a very bad person worthy of death because fate is going to take him out even if he did survive the storm and the ship wreck.
It's simple right? Bad things happen to bad people. Good things happen to good people.
If you believe that your theology is pagan. If you believe that Jesus must have been a horrible person and Paul too. Unfortunately this thinking is all to common in the world and in Christianity. This planet was hijacked. Our first parents were deceived into handing it over to Satan. We are at war. War is messy and awful and many innocent people die just for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Sometimes good people suffer to bring hope and help to those who would never receive it otherwise. We'll talk about that tomorrow... :)