ACTS OF THE APOSTLES
The First Ship Vs. 1-5: Paul had appealed unto Caesar. Since Paul was a Roman citizen, the Roman authorities in Caesarea knew he would be allowed to go to Rome. They put Paul, and his friends Luke (note the ‘we’ in V. 1) and Aristarchus on a ship along with other prisoners. Julius, a Roman centurion, was in charge of them. When they touched at Sidon, Julius let the believers go and visit friends. From there, they sailed unto Myra, a city of Lycia.
The Second Ship Started Out Well – Vs. 6-8: There the centurion found a ship which was sailing unto Italy. He put the men for whom he was responsible on this ship which was apparently a ship carrying wheat, which was to sail from Egypt into Italy. Their sailing vessels were far different from the ones used today. They had to depend upon the sails altogether. They also had to look to the sun, moon, and stars to know which direction they were going. They came to a place called “The fair havens.”
The Centurion Took the Wrong Advice – Vs. 9-13: It was getting late in the season and the weather would be getting worse. Paul advised that they should spend the winter in the port of “The fair havens.” He told them that he perceived that the voyage would be with hurt and much damage of the ship and its contents and of their lives. The centurion believed the master and owner of the ship, so he didn’t listen to Paul. Where did Paul get this information? He was in touch with the Lord, and it didn’t matter what he did or didn’t know about ships and weather. He knew God! They figured the haven was not a good place in which to spend the winter, so they planned to make it to Phenice, 40 miles further west, and winter there. When the south wind blew, they started out. Always in those days they stayed as close to land as possible, and did not take to the open sea. We must learn to listen to good advice. When one is walking with the Lord, they know how things should be. Just because it seems right to go a certain path, does not always mean it will be. The south wind was deceitful. It soon changed. Don’s be swayed by the “more part” – V. 12.
The Ship was in Great Danger – Vs. 14-20: Things on the ship went from bad to worse. A great storm overtook them. They swirled in every direction and the sea was whipped into a fury. Sailors called this type of storm “Euroclydon.” It was a storm sailors dreaded. They were driven off course. After about a day they threw grain overboard. After that they even threw overboard some of the ship’s gear. All their hope was taken away. They expected the ship to break apart at any time. They hadn’t seen the sun nor stars in many days.
Hope for the Hopeless – Vs. 21-26: God had promised Paul he would see Rome. Would he, along with the rest, suffer shipwreck and be drowned in the sea? NO! Paul hadn’t eaten for a long time. We are sure the others were too scared, weak, or sick to eat. Anyway in the midst of all this which was taking place, Paul stood up and spoke to the rest. He said they should have listened to him when he said they should stay in The Fair Haven. His message to them at this time was to be of good cheer. Paul told them there would be no loss of life among them. He did say the ship would not be saved. He said he knew this for an angel of God stood by him and reminded him that he would be brought before Caesar, and that was in Rome. He also said, God told him that He had given Paul all those that sailed with him. Paul declared to them they could be of good cheer. He said, “I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me.” He said they would be cast on an island.
Things Got Even Worse – Vs. 27-32: The 14th night came and they were driven up and down in Adria. About midnight, the sailors caught the sound of waves pounding on rocks. They let down their measuring line and found it was 120 feet deep. Later it was only 90 feet, so they knew they were near shore. They were afraid they might hit some rocks, so they cast 4 anchors into the sea to hold the ship. Some tried to go off into some little lifeboat. Paul said if they wanted to be saved they must stay in the ship. Then he urged them to eat. First he gave thanks and ate, and the rest ate also. They threw more things overboard. When it was day they found a way to steer the ship close to shore. The ship was broken up. The soldier’s counsel was to kill the prisoners so they wouldn’t escape. Julis, the centurion, stopped them from doing that. He told the ones who could swim, to swim to shore. The others could make it in on pieces of boards. They all escaped to land. God had kept His Word.
Application: Life is like a voyage. We are “sailing” from earth to heaven. Let us be sure to be ready to take the right advice from the right person and not just go with the majority. What blessed truths are found in this chapter! We can depend upon the Word of God. Since He has promised us that we will weather the storm and get to our desired haven, which we call HEAVEN, we will. Many times the storms get really bad, but we can be like Paul and say “I BELIEVE GOD.” God has promised you that you will make it through. Like it says in Isa. 43:2 – “When thou passest through the water, I will be with thee.” You can be in the position of not only believing for yourself, but for all those who are with you. May it be!