“Nevertheless the centurion was more persuaded by the helmsman and the owner of the ship than by the things spoken by Paul.”
After appealing to Caesar, Paul was sent on the long journey to Rome. He was to stand trial for the accusations brought against him by the religious leaders of Jerusalem. Paul was released from his Caesarean prison and placed in the care of Julius, a Roman centurion. Acts 27-28 records the story of their journey to Rome. Right away, this journey faced obstacles.
Due to headwinds, travel was extremely slow and they reached Fair Havens very late in the season. The later their arrival, the greater their chances of encountering a storm that would threaten their travels, and their lives. Julius was responsible, not only for Paul, but other prisoners who were also under his care. He had a difficult decision to make. Do they press on this late in the season, or do they wait out the winter in Fair Havens?
Like most of us, when facing decisions, he sought the counsel of others. He spoke with the owner of the ship, who had a financial interest in the trip; as well as the captain of the ship, who knew the seas well. They both assured him of a safe journey. Then he received counsel from Paul; their journey would end in disaster. Julius was persuaded by the counsel of men and ignored the counsel of God. In the end, the ship was lost, their lives were threatened and they were shipwrecked on an island. It is not difficult to understand why Julius would listen to the captain and owner, while ignoring Paul. I mean, Paul was not a sailor, but a scholar and prisoner heading to trial.
I think we always assume we have good reasons when we allow ourselves to be persuaded by the counsel of men and to ignore the instructions of God. However, I think we always have good reason to obey the Words of God. This morning, in whatever you are facing, will you allow the Word of God to persuade you, or will you be tossed around by the counsel of men?
Questions for Acts 27
- Paul develops a relationship with the centurion Julius. As their journeys proceed, Paul gives Julius a warning. What is the response of Julius and the outcome of the warning?
- Paul gives advice again during the storm. What is the response to his words this time?
- Paul speaks in verse 34 “since not a hair will fall from the head of any of you.” After these words, notice verse 42. Does everyone survive?
- At the end of this chapter, there is an interesting observation. Our culture has often looked at customs in America and thought that certain things originated in the States. We read of “surfing” of the coast of Malta, recorded here in Acts 27:44.
- Paul’s words were true, “they all escaped safely to the land.” Paul was tuned into God’s plan for his life. He wasn’t looking at the circumstances around him; his faith was in God, the Creator of the universe. Where is your faith at today? Is there something going on that is distracting you from God’s plan for your life? Read Jeremiah 29:11.
Judges 20- The Wrong Battle