Sunday, November 11, 2012

On 11-18-12, Acts 28:1-10 will be our Adult Sunday School/Uniform Series/International Sunday School Lesson, herein is my commentary. This lesson is known by some as Paul Ministers in/on Malta.

Paul Ministers on/in Malta
 Acts 28:1-10
International Sunday School Lesson
November 18, 2012

Jed Greenough

Did you ever have the gift of time?  What did you do to make the most of it?  For some of us it might not be more than a few days or a couple weeks for others it could be retirement or a time of unemployment.
Some people can and deserve to do nothing for a while but others have never learned to relax.  Either way it is okay but as with any resource in the end we need to use that resource for God’s glory.
Paul when we left him last week had been among almost 300 aboard a ship that had been in perilous seas for weeks.   All those on board were under enormous stress as they just knew with confidence that they would eventually die at sea.  Thanks to God however, though the ship and its cargo were lost, all on board were saved as they made it to the shores of Malta.
Here they would stay for 3 months until the weather grew favorable for a return to the sea and then on to Rome.
As we enter the scene today what is clearly shown is that Paul goes right to work.  Though a prisoner it is clear that he isn’t treated exactly like one and Paul lends a hand in the work rather than being catered to.
That can be our first lesson: you can and should always lend a hand.  Many don’t, especially if they are paying for something, but it is the attitude and work ethic of Paul that I know made opportunities to then testify to others about Jesus Christ.
We can always organize the plates and glasses that make it easier for a waitress.  We can lend a hand on a back country pack trip even if we are green hands by looking for ways to help around camp.  I can set the table and you can insist on bringing something to the table.
The closer we get to the end Jesus told us “the love of most will grow cold.”  Because of this people will do less for each other and if we do more the opportunity to witness may increase.
We do not even have to leave the beach or the fire where these who have been shipwrecked have gathered to see our next lesson from Paul.  This one is faith.
Yes, God could have just protected Paul from the venom of that snake and in reality He did.  But I am confident that Paul knew God wasn’t going to let it mortally hurt him because He had been told He would testify in Rome.
Paul knew on the ship that this was to happen.  He knew from what the angel of God had told him that they would all survive the wreck of the ship and they did.  Paul got down to the business of encouraging everyone else on board rather than keeping it to himself.  His faith gave him confidence.
Faith continues to be the lesson for the day as we see Paul in the home of Publius as Paul heals his father.  Naturally word got out and all the sick of Malta came to be healed.  But it wasn’t Paul but rather through his faith that the man was healed as we know from what Peter said when he healed a beggar in Act 3:11-16
While the beggar held on to Peter and John, all the people were astonished and came running to them in the place called Solomon’s Colonnade.  When Peter saw this, he said to them: “Men of Israel, why does this surprise you? Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk?  The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus. You handed him over to be killed, and you disowned him before Pilate, though he had decided to let him go.  You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you.  You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this.  By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has given this complete healing to him, as you can all see.

It seems Paul made pretty good use of the 3 months he spent wintered at Malta as he is still teaching us today.

For Discussion:

1.      Bring a map of this journey to class.
2.      Discuss where 276 would have found food and shelter.
3.      Discuss examples of Paul’s work ethic.
4.      Though Paul survived much and not just in this trip, discuss the suffering of Paul.  Begin with Jesus words from Acts 9:16.
5.      Discuss how through our actions we can open opportunities to share the gospel.
6.      Discuss examples of healing that you may be aware of.
7.      Discuss how we may have neglected this gift of the Holy Spirit.

Upcoming Adult Sunday School Class Commentaries

11-25-12: Paul Evangelizes in Rome Acts 28:16, 17, 23-31 or Acts 28:23-31
12-2-12:   Blessed in Christ aka Spiritual Blessings in Jesus Christ Ephesians 1:3-14
12-9-12:   One in Jesus Christ Ephesians 2:11-22
12-16-12: Part of One Body in Christ aka Unity in the Body of Christ Ephesians 4:1-16

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 Biblica. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved

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