God's Word for Today Acts 27

January 11, 2012

 
 

This is the beginning of the voyage to Italy. A centurion named Julius is in authority over Paul, the other prisoners, and the crew of the ship.  Probably most of the other prisoners were not Roman citizens, they were criminals being sent to Rome for execution.  Many of them would become gladiators and would fight each other, or be fed to the lions in the Coliseum. These prisoners would be very hopeless. What an opportunity this gave Paul to bring the Gospel to them. The Lord Jesus said that one of the reasons He came was to set the prisoners free,  free spiritually, delivered from their sins and delivered from their guilt. 

The ship stayed close to the coastline up the coast of Israel.  Tyre and Sidon are up on the coast in Phoenicia in what is now the country of Lebanon.  Notice the liberty that is given to Paul by the centurion.  Even though this leader, didn’t believe in God for himself, he could see that God was at work in Paul’s life.  Possibly this Roman became a Christian along the way.  Julius treated Paul with consideration and, surprisingly, allowed him to go to his friends and receive care. Paul was a very important prisoner to allow to run around loose. People will trust one who really cares about the needs of others and not just about their own needs.  Paul cared about Julius, and Julius knew it cared about Paul.

Myra was the place they changed ships. The centurion found a ship of Alexandria, which means it had come up from northern Africa and was sailing to Italy. They were headed for the island of Crete. They were having difficulty sailing because of strong winds. They passed on the south side of the island and came to Lasea, which is on the south shore of Crete, a place called Fair Havens.  I have been there and will show you some pictures.

It was almost the winter season, with more storms. They had been hoping to get to Rome before the stormy season.  Paul has sailed quite a bit in his previous missionary trips but he is no expert on sailing.  Yet he speaks out boldly about continuing the trip at this point.  But the centurion listened instead to the advice of the captain and they set sail toward another harbor on the island of Crete.  Crete is the largest island off the coast of Greece.  This is where Titus was the pastor.   Paul is available with God given ability to lead, but the people are not ready to listen to his leadership yet.

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