Acts 28:3,5 When Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and put them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat and fastened on his hand. He, however, shook off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm.
Paul was bitten by a snake and suffered no side effects. This scripture says he just shook the viper off. Actually Jesus prophesied about these kinds of things in His great commission. He said, “And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them…” Jesus was talking about situations like the Apostle Paul experienced, accidental snake bite that led to opportunity for ministry as a sign and wonder. The Lord had no intention for people to pick up snakes as a religious practice, people can do some crazy things in the name of religion. Recently, there has been news coverage of a Kentucky preacher who handled snakes regular as a reality television show. He won’t be doing that any more. Here is how that ended up.
“A Kentucky preacher and reality TV star, whose sermons involved handling of deadly snakes, has died from a snake bite. He refused medical treatment, because he relied on God’s protection to save him from the venom. Pastor Jamie Coots was found dead at about 10pm EST on Saturday at his house in Middlesboro, Kentucky, local police reported Sunday. Coots was reportedly bitten on his right hand by a rattlesnake at his church, Full Gospel Tabernacle in Jesus Name, Middlesboro Chief of Police Jeffrey Sharpe reported. Emergency workers were called, but the preacher went home before they reached the church.
The medics went to Coots’ house and spent some 30 minutes attempting to persuade him to accept treatment. However his faith included the conviction that God would protect any true believer from snake venom, so he refused medical aid.
“Everybody that knows Mr. Coots knows what his belief is, and he had no intention of going to the hospital,” Sharpe said.
The 42-year-old was found dead by emergency workers, who returned some 60 minutes after departure, police said.”
The worst thing about all this is how people respond to religious fanatic behavior, the conclusion for many is that anything supernatural or miraculous smacks of hucksterism. That is a great tragedy. Our God is Spirit and He operates in the world of the supernatural. To isolate ourselves from the realm of miracles is to isolate ourselves from the realm of God. We need the power of God in our lives to survive in our jaded world. We need His power to resist temptation and we need His miraculous presence to satisfy us in this world filled with compromise. Just because some wacky preacher on reality television abuses the scripture, let’s not throw out the baby with the bath water. Today more than ever we need the power of God, it will become more and more important as the world grows darker.