Acts 27 The Voyage To Rome And God’s Providence.

Acts 27 The Voyage To Rome And God’s Providence.

Luke states that when the decision was made to go before Caesar in Rome, that Paul and his companions, Luke and Aristarchus, along with some other prisoners, were entrusted “to one Julius, a centurion of the Augustan Regiment.” (v. 1 Cf. 25:12; Col. 4:10, 14; Philemon 24). They sailed along the Asiatic coast north to Sidon (Lebanon), where Julius allowed Paul to visit with his friends and receive care (vv. 2-3). They then set sail to the north of Cyprus for protection from the winds from the west (v. 4), until they arrived at Myra, a port city of Lycia. Here they transferred to an Alexandrian ship sailing to Italy (vv. 5-6). They continued west to Cnidus, sailing under the shelter of Crete, until they arrived at the southern coastal port of Fair Havens (vv. 7-8).

The Fast, or annual Day of Atonement being over, Paul advised the sailors that any further efforts to go to Rome would meet with peril at sea (vv. 9-10). “Nevertheless, the centurion was more persuaded by the helmsmen and the owner of the ship than by the things spoken by Paul. And because the harbor was not suitable to winter in, the majority advised to set sail from there also, if by any means they could reach Phoenix, a harbor of Crete (vv. 11-12). “The captain and the owner wanted to reach the larger and safer harbor of Phoenix about forty miles to the west, but in going west past Cape Matala the ship would be exposed to winds from the northwest.” (NGSB 1758). Majority opinion overruled Paul’s advice, so that when the winds died down they set sail close by Crete (v. 13).

However, not long after they set sail, a strong northeaster kicked up some huge waves, until they finally had to seek shelter of the island Clauda, but fearing the ship would bust apart they used cables to gird it around, and setting sail again they were driven by the storm, so they lightened the ship, even throwing off their tackle on the third day, till they finally gave up and lost all hope of survival (vv. 14-20). Finally, when they had gone without food for a long time, Paul reminded them that they should not have set sail at the beginning. However, it was not to gloat as a “I told you so,’ but as evidence of his gift as a prophet of the Lord, they could trust him when he said that they would not perish, but only the ship (vv. 21-22), this knowledge having come to Paul through an angel of God (v. 23).

God promised Paul strength to eventually stand before Caesar, and the preservation of his shipmates (v. 24). Therefore, he was able to provide comfort, but they would be facing shipwreck (vv. 25-26). After two weeks of being driven up and down the Adriatic Sea, they finally set anchor when they realized they were approaching land, praying for day to come (vv. 27-29). However, when it seemed clear that the ship would not survive, and the men wanted to disembark, Paul warned them to stay with the ship, for as bad as it seemed it was the only option for their survival (vv. 30-32). Paul then encouraged the men to eat, and taking bread he blessed it and began to eat, and the men did likewise, and then cast everything that remained into the sea (vv. 33-38). Altogether, 276 persons were saved.

Observing land as the day approached, they let go the anchors that the ship might run ashore, but instead it ran aground and was being torn apart by the waves of the sea. Under these circumstances the soldiers were intent on killing the prisoners to prevent their escape, but the Centurion, wanting to save Paul, prevented the soldiers from doing so. He then instructed those who could swim to shore to do so, while the others should cling to whatever could float (vv. 39-44a). “And so it was that they all escaped safely to land.” (v. 44b). The men were asked to put their faith in the word given through Paul, and God, in his providence, worked all things for the good he had decreed. All the above detail gives evidence to Luke being an eyewitness, an historian who believed in the sovereignty of God.

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