For the people of Malta, the 10th of February is a day marked in Maltese history as the beginning of their Christian Tradition. It is believed, as recorded in Acts, that it was the Apostle Paul himself that brought Christianity to the Island.
The narrative in Acts 27 (18-38; 28,1-17) gives a vivid account of the event.
Saint Paul was being taken to Rome as a prisoner to be tried there, when a violent storm wrecked the ship on to the Maltese shores. There were 276 people on board, mostly prisoners like him. All those on board had lost hope of saving their life. But Paul, although only a prisoner, took hold of the situation, because the Angel of God had spoken to him, telling him not to be afraid but to have faith. God had promised him that all those on board will be saved after being wrecked on an island. When they all swam safely to shore, they got to know that the island was Malta. They were warmly welcomed by the Maltese, who started to regard Paul as a god when nothing happened to him after being bitten by a poisonous snake. He was also welcomed by Publius, the Roman Representative on the island. Paul preached the Christian Faith to the Maltese, converting them to Christianity and he also healed the sick, including Publius’ father. For the following three months he lived in a cave, still known today as Saint Paul’s Grotto in Rabat. Before resuming the journey to Rome, Paul appointed Publius to fulfil the role of Bishop for the converted Maltese.
Saint Paul was being taken to Rome as a prisoner but he was not a criminal. He had been a Pharisee, basing his beliefs on the law of Moses, regarding the followers of Jesus as a threat to his beliefs. Everything changed when on his way to Damascus to round up Christians, Jesus Himself spoke to him. (Acts 9, 22-26 )
Jesus intervened in his life and transformed him. Paul was neither a handsome man, nor a perfect one, but God endowed him with many qualities in his personality. He used these strengths to spread the Christian Faith. He was a great leader and he led many people, especially Gentiles (those who were not Jews) to a belief in Jesus Christ.
Malta is mentioned in the bible since Saint Paul, on his way to Rome, was in Malta. Thanks to Saint Paul, we got to know about God and His love.