Acts 27

Acts 27 has Paul boarding a ship to be transferred to see Caesar as he had requested.  It was no short voyage, and the winds did not cooperate and their progress was slow and did not move them quickly enough on the journey.  They had many difficult days battling wrong winds and slow progress.  But they weren’t willing to give up. Paul tells them “Sirs, I perceive that the voyage will be with injury and much loss, not only of the cargo and the ship, but also of our lives. But the centurion paid more attention to the pilot and to the owner of the ship than to what Paul said”.  Paul obviously has the right answers, but they wouldn’t listen to them.

Things are not going well.  “Since we were violently storm-tossed, they began the next day to jettison the cargo. And on the third day they threw the ship’s tackle overboard with their own hands.  They try with all their might to save themselves.  “When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small tempest lay on us, all hope of our being saved was at last abandoned”.  But their efforts are coming up short.  All that they were doing just wasn’t enough.  They are failing to save themselves in their own strength.  But its what we do as humans.  We put God on the sidelines until we are so far over our head we see no other way.

Then Paul takes charge.  “Since they had been without food for a long time, Paul stood up among them and said, Men, you should have listened to me and not have set sail from Crete and incurred this injury and loss. Yet now I urge you to  take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. So take heart, men, for I have faith in God that it will be exactly as I have been told”.  Paul first reminds them that he told them exactly what was to happen, but now, since all their efforts have failed, it is time to trust God.

There is fear amongst the crew so they make plans to leave the ship.  Again Paul steps in.  “Unless these men stay in the ship, you cannot be saved”.  God’s plan is not common sense in the eyes of the crew.  But they listen to Paul.  “Then the soldiers cut away the ropes of the ship’s boat and let it go. As day was about to dawn, Paul urged them all to take some food, saying, Today is the fourteenth day that you have continued in suspense and without food, having taken nothing. Therefore I urge you to take some food. For it will give you strength, for  not a hair is to perish from the head of any of you”.

Those were some pretty bold words.  But the crew listened and ate.  This wasn’t a small boat.  “We were in all 276 persons in the ship”.  Paul isn’t saving his own skin here.  There are hundreds of people at risk. They throw more of the cargo off but and then see a beach in a bay and decide to try to run the ship ashore there.  They strike a reef and fail to get all the way.  “The soldiers’ plan was to kill the prisoners, lest any should swim away and escape. But the centurion, wishing to save Paul, kept them from carrying out their plan”.  They all make it ashore and are saved because they listened to Paul.

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