and when this had taken place, the rest of the people on the island who had diseases also came and were cured. they also honored us greatly, and when we were about to sail, they put on board whatever we needed. [acts 28:9-10]
from the influential, to all!
God’s healing on malta started with the father of publius, an influential man on the island. and when this had taken place, the rest of the island heard, brought their sick, and honored them. we can see a bit of God’s strategy here, starting with one key leader, but not stopping there. we also saw this earlier with the conversation of lydia, the seller of purple goods who then likely hosted the church in her house.
if you think about how we would do ministry in the flesh, we would start by doing whatever we could to get the attention of the powerful and influential, and then consider that a win! the world uses the poor as a means to get to the rich. what we see here is the opposite: the Lord uses the rich to get to all the rest. it is the excluded and the poor who most quickly and deeply followed Jesus in his time walking in the flesh, and God’s heart is especially close to the brokenhearted (ps 34:18). God is strategic, but do not think he came for the righteous; he came for lowly sinners like you and me! (mk. 2:17)
Lord, thank you for running to poor, excluded, brokenhearted, sinners like us. please help us to see how we can be strategic servants to bring the gospel to the lost around us and raise up brothers and sisters who do the same!
~ stephen hall