Growing with God’s Word and Trusting in God’s Promises
Acts 27:1-12: In today’s reading, Paul’s journey to Rome begins so that his case can be heard by the Roman Emperor. He is put aboard a ship with other prisoners. The journey by ship would not be an easy one. Chapter 27 provides a description of how dangerous sea travel was in the first century. After leaving Caesarea, the first stop was at Sidon, a port on the coast of Phoenicia, about seventy miles north of Caesarea. (You may wish to consult a map to follow Paul’s journey to Rome.)
[Paul said:] “Men, I see that our voyage from here on will be dangerous; there will be great damage to the cargo and to the ship, and loss of life as well.”
1When it was decided that we should sail to Italy, they handed Paul and some other prisoners over to Julius, an officer in the Roman army regiment called “The Emperor's Regiment.”2We went aboard a ship from Adramyttium, which was ready to leave for the seaports of the province of Asia, and we sailed away. Aristarchus, a Macedonian from Thessalonica, was with us.3The next day we arrived at Sidon. Julius was kind to Paul and allowed him to go and see his friends, to be given what he needed.4We went on from there, and because the winds were blowing against us, we sailed on the sheltered side of the island of Cyprus.5We crossed over the sea off Cilicia and Pamphylia and came to Myra in Lycia.6There the officer found a ship from Alexandria that was going to sail for Italy, so he put us aboard.
7We sailed slowly for several days and with great difficulty finally arrived off the town of Cnidus. The wind would not let us go any farther in that direction, so we sailed down the sheltered side of the island of Crete, passing by Cape Salmone.8We kept close to the coast and with great difficulty came to a place called Safe Harbors, not far from the town of Lasea.
9We spent a long time there, until it became dangerous to continue the voyage, for by now the Day of Atonement was already past. So Paul gave them this advice:10“Men, I see that our voyage from here on will be dangerous; there will be great damage to the cargo and to the ship, and loss of life as well.”11But the army officer was convinced by what the captain and the owner of the ship said, and not by what Paul said.12The harbor was not a good one to spend the winter in; so almost everyone was in favor of putting out to sea and trying to reach Phoenix, if possible, in order to spend the winter there. Phoenix is a harbor in Crete that faces southwest and northwest.
What difficulties did Paul and the travelers face? How did Julius treat Paul? The Day of Atonement mentioned in verse 9 took place near the end of September, and the sailing season was dangerous after the middle of September. Sea travel on the Mediterranean was usually not undertaken from mid-October to April. What warning did Paul give (verse 10)? Why was his warning ignored?
Eternal God, in times of danger and distress, you are my safe harbor and source of strength. Your steadfast love and care never fail, and I place my trust in you. Amen.
Those who load ship containers and transport cargo
Acts 27:13-38: A storm occurs at sea.