The residents of Malta get everything wrong about Paul. At first they think he’s a great sinner, because only sinners have bad things happen to them (28:4)! We remember that Jesus corrected that same type of thinking with his own disciples:
John 9:1-3 “Now as Jesus was passing by, he saw a man who had been blind from birth. His disciples asked him, ‘Rabbi, who committed the sin that caused him to be born blind, this man or his parents?’ Jesus answered, ‘Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but he was born blind so that the acts of God may be revealed through what happens to him.‘”
Then, when Paul shows no ill effects from the snake bite, they think that he’s a god! That’s happened to Paul before (Acts 14:11-18). Paul certainly dissuades them from that line of thinking, but since Luke dealt with it previously, he doesn’t feel the need to record Paul’s refutation this time.
Why would Luke want us to know that the figurehead of the ship represented the twin sons of Zeus, Castor and Pollux, who were viewed as the gods who protected seamen? Perhaps he wants us to understand something of the culture that Paul is trying to reach with the gospel. There were so many gods and goddesses, and they were represented and worshiped everywhere! Perhaps that can give us some encouragement. If people were reached then, they can be reached now. Paul is still only under house arrest in Rome, and he is able to meet not only with other Christians, but the Jewish leadership as well, which we’ll read about tomorrow.