Acts 28:6-10
Acts 28:6 (KJB)
Howbeit they looked when he should have swollen, or fallen down dead suddenly: but after they had looked a great while, and saw no harm come to him, they changed their minds, and said that he was a god.
The local people had seen others bitten by these vipers and saw them die from the venom. Here they were waiting for Paul to suffer the same fate but it did not happen. They did not know that God had told Paul that he was going to testify for Him in Rome and therefore the snake venom did not affect Paul. Now comes the superstition. When they saw that Paul was not affected by the snake, they immediately thought that he was a god. The people of Lystra did the same thing to him and Barnabas and he knew how a crowd could go from cheering to jeering to violence in a matter of just a few minutes. The people of Melita changed quickly too. They had Paul pegged as a murderer and now they had him pegged as a god, from one extreme to another.
Acts 28:7 (KJB)
In the same quarters were possessions of the chief man of the island, whose name was Publius; who received us, and lodged us three days courteously.
Close by was the living quarters for the chief man of the island name Publius. It is said that he held his office under the Governor of Sicily and as the chief Roman officer, he was responsible for the soldiers stationed on the island. He was a very kind man and welcomed the people especially since they were fellow Romans. He had entertained them for three days with much thoughtfulness. The word “courteous” in the Greek can also be understood as “in a friendly way.” Maybe Publius did not get much of a chance to entertain anyone from Rome too often being an outpost.
Acts 28:8 (KJB)
And it came to pass, that the father of Publius lay sick of a fever and of a bloody flux: to whom Paul entered in, and prayed, and laid his hands on him, and healed him.
Bloody Flux - Dysentery
Dysentery causes sever diarrhea which also passes much blood and mucus. Apparently the father of Publius had contracted this disease. This could have killed him because severe diarrhea can dehydrate the body quickly and cause death. No doubt Publius’ father was dying from this horrible disease. Here was another opportunity for the Gospel to get a hearing and why God allowed them to become shipwrecked on this island. It seems from the Greek text that he had suffered from these headaches frequently. They may have been reoccurring migraines along with the dysentery. When Paul heard about this situation, he went to see his father and upon entering, he prayed first and then he laid his hands on him and the man was healed of these diseases. Paul was the instrument but God was the one who actually healed the man.
Acts 28:9 (KJB)
So when this was done, others also, which had diseases in the island, came, and were healed:
This is something that could not be hushed up, so when others heard about it, they brought their sick and those who could walk came to Paul to be healed. Although they could not communicate perfectly, Paul may have been able to understand some of their dialect but Luke would have been unable to understand any of it. The ministry of healing was closely tied to the Gospel throughout the book of Acts. It portrays the before and after of a person who becomes saved. Before a person is saved they are spiritually sick but after they are saved, they are spiritually made alive. The diseases just represented a person before salvation and healing represented a person after salvation. Just like the blind man in John 9, he could not physically see. Before a person is saved, they cannot see spiritual things but after they are saved, their spiritual eyes are opened, going from spiritual blindness to spiritual sight.
Acts 28:10 (KJB)
Who also honoured us with many honours; and when we departed, they laded us with such things as were necessary.
Paul no doubt had a good three months of ministry while he was on Melita. He no doubt saw the divine healing of many and he probably was able to get a church started because probably many became saved under his ministry. In appreciation of all the things they did for them, the people of Melita had honored them with many honors probably in the form of food, clothing, money and any other necessities they needed to stay the winter and for the continuing journey.