When it was decided that we would sail for Italy, Paul and some other prisoners were handed over to a centurion named Julius, who belonged to the Imperial Regiment. Acts 27:1
The next day we landed at Sidon; and Julius, in kindness to Paul, allowed him to go to his friends so they might provide for his needs. From there we put out to sea again and passed to the lee of Cyprus because the winds were against us. Acts 27:3-4
We moved along the coast with difficulty and came to a place called Fair Havens, near the town of Lasea. Much time had been lost, and sailing had already become dangerous because by now it was after the Day of Atonement. So Paul warned them, Men, I can see that our voyage is going to be disastrous and bring great loss to ship and cargo, and to our own lives also.” But the centurion, instead of listening to what Paul said, followed the advice of the pilot and of the owner of the ship. Since the harbor was unsuitable to winter in, the majority decided that we should sail on, hoping to reach Phoenix and winter there. This was a harbor in Crete, facing both southwest and northwest. Acts 27:8-12
Just before dawn Paul urged them all to eat. “For the last fourteen days,” he said, “you have been in constant suspense and have gone without food—you haven’t eaten anything. Now I urge you to take some food. You need it to survive. Not one of you will lose a single hair from his head.” Acts 27:33-34
Acts 27 tells a story full of danger, faith, arrogance, selfishness, humility, prayer and terror in the midst of a storm. Sounds like a movie, right? Wrong! This story is true and there is much to observe, learn and discern in this chapter. Read through Acts 27. Now, go back and look at what Paul says in this chapter. Who told Paul what would happen if they set sail from Crete? Look at the decisions the Centurion made in this story. What kind of voyage did the ship have from the time they left Sidon?
What sort of advice does Paul give the Centurion in Acts 27:10? Whose advice does the Centurion listen to in Acts 27:11? Luke tells us in Acts 27:9 that, “it was after the Fast,” meaning it was after the Day of Atonement, which was usually in late September or October. Keep in mind sailing on the Mediterranean Sea was a difficult prospect after the middle of September and many considered it to be suicidal after the middle of November.
Fourteen days in hurricane force winds, being blown west, with no way to steer, no way to navigate, afraid the ship would fall apart and all would be drowned, had to be a terrifying experience for all 267 on board. Read Acts 27:21-24 again. Take note of Paul’s confidence in God and His provision. In Acts 27:31-32 a change has occurred in the Centurion, who now listens to Paul and follows his advice. Notice the attitude the Centurion has toward Paul in Acts 27:43. Did everything God said through his servant Paul occur? Compare how the soldiers, sailors and the Centurion made decisions when the shipwreck occurred.
Who was the Lord of this ship? Who is the Lord of your life? Take some time to think about the different areas in your life. Have you given all areas over to God’s control? Perhaps, it is hard to listen to God’s advice in certain areas of your life. Perhaps God’s way does not seem sensible, reasonable or even logical to you. The Centurion in Acts 27 learns, listens, and humbles himself to listen to the advice of one of his prisoners because his prediction – that God gave him – came true. Paul and God were proven to be trustworthy. God is trustworthy in our lives as well. Give God the opportunity to be Lord over all of your life.
By Grace Hunter