Acts 27-28:10 Paul's Ship Wreck



We are nearing the end of our study on Acts. There is only one study to be had after this one. What a journey! Think about it. We were with the apostles on the day of Pentecost. That was some 30 years ago. (Are you feeling older? :)

We were also with them just before the ascension of the Lord. Do you recall the last question the apostles asked before His ascension? They said, "Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?" What was His reply? He said, "It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority." The answer Jesus gave allows us to understand that a people group called Israel will one day, once again come under the direct rule of God through His Messiah.

The reason I want to point this out is because in just a short time, Israel as the a viable nation would disappear from the earth. Beginning in 70 a.d., she will disappear for almost 2000 years. But at the end of that time, the prophet said that a land and a nation would be born in one day. We saw that day take place on May 14, 1948.

Well, that's a subject of its own. For now we need to get aboard ship. Its going to be a rough journey ahead. I can tell you as an old salt, that the sea can be pretty troublesome at times. I've had my share of weathering gales and typhoons in the Pacific Ocean. (Was in the Navy 1959-1963)

This next to the last study will be a general synopsis on Paul's ship travel to Rome. I don't intend to scrutinize each verse. Rather, I'll highlight a those things that will give additional insight into the workings of God. Paul has completed his testimony to Israel. There is no turning back. The Caesar must hear from this man. Are you ready? Ok --- Let's see if you have some sea legs.

This is Acts042 - Acts 27-28:10 Paul's Ship Wreck

Acts 27:1-20 - Synopsis - Paul is turned over to a centurion named Julius and they set sail for Italy. The apostle is well treated but the journey itself will be filled with threat of life. After various ports, and a change of ships, the weather begins to worsen. Then it becomes so dangerous that the crew and passengers began to despair for their lives. It continues to get worse. Finally they lose all hope of being saved from ship wreck. But Paul has something to say.

Vs21: "When they had gone a long time without food, then Paul stood up in their midst and said, 'Men, you ought to have followed my advice and not to have set sail from Crete and incurred this damage and loss.'"

.... The apostle had forewarned them. Now that they are in deep despair, he reminds them of this. Yet Paul also has a word of comfort for them. In fact this group of people need not worry any longer. They would make the journey safe. But not without mishap.

Vss22-24: "Yet now I urge you to keep up your courage, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. For this very night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood before me, saying, 'Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar; and behold, God has granted you all those who are sailing with you.'"

.... Only a man of God, with a Word from God, could say such a thing as did Paul. Yes, the ship will be lost, but not a person aboard the ship will lose their life. Paul then relays the reason why. An angel of God had been sent to him with a message. Paul must stand before Caesar.

.... We may wonder why the Lord did not simply save the ship and all its passengers. But here again we seen the wisdom of the Lord. All that happens through this will add to Paul's credentials as an apostle, and to his witness to all who come in contact with him.

Vss25-44 Synopsis: Paul knew they must run aground. Even at this the sailors tried to escape from the ship. Their scheme is averted. Finally Paul convinces the crew to eat, and in doing this, he breaks bread in their presence and gives thanks to the Lord. Paul's demeanor causes everyone to take courage. The following morning they see a bay and cast off anchors to allow the ship to be driven. The ship strikes a reef, runs aground, and then begins to break up.

It is at this point that the soldiers decide to kill the prisoners. The centurion not wanting Paul to be harmed, did not allow this to happen. Again keep in mind that under Roman military law, if a prisoner escapes it could well mean the death of the one who was entrusted with the care of the prisoner. But no one was going to lose their life that day. All made it to shore by clinging to various objects from the ship.

Acts 28:1-6 - Synopsis 'The Island of Malta'

The natives of the island showed great kindness in ministering to the ship wrecked. But here again we will see an apostolic miracle and a testimony. While gathering sticks for the fire a viper fastens itself to Paul's hand. After the apostle shakes the snake off into the fire, the natives watch him for quite awhile to see when he would die. They assumed he was a criminal and that justice had come home. But when Paul didn't die, they decided he was a god.

Let's let the Scriptures speak for themselves....

Vss7-10: "Now in the neighborhood of that place were lands belonging to the leading man of the island, named Publius, who welcomed us and entertained us courteously three days. And it happened that the father of Publius was lying in bed afflicted with recurrent fever and dysentery; and Paul went in to see him and after he had prayed, he laid his hands on him and healed him. After this had happened, the rest of the people on the island who had diseases were coming to him and getting cured. They also honored us with many marks of respect; and when we were setting sail, they supplied us with all we needed."

.... This is the last mention of apostolic miracles and healings in the book of Acts, but it is telling enough. Notice it says the rest of the people on the island who had diseases were being healed. Paul is very much like his Master in this regard. It must have been an amazing thing to see all these miracle healings. You can be sure that a church is left on that island.

Special note on this study - I want to point out that we've merely skimmed the journeys of the apostle Paul. We've been with him on only one ship wreck. Paul tells us in another place that he was shipwrecked three times. In one case he actually spend a night and a day in the deep.

I want to close this study by sharing how Paul describes his difficulties as an apostle. He was forced to do this because of those who wished to challenge his calling. Listen carefully:

"Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they descendants of Abraham? So am I. Are they servants of Christ?-- I speak as if insane-- I more so; in far more labors, in far more imprisonments, beaten times without number, often in danger of death. Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep. I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren; I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. Apart from such external things, there is the daily pressure on me of concern for all the churches. Who is weak without my being weak? Who is led into sin without my intense concern?" (2Co11:22-29)


This study was originally part of a series on the book of Acts given to members of Hebraic Foundations from July 10, 2002 through January 19, 2003. They were written by Pastor Buddy Martin, a former United Pentecostal Church minister, who founded Christian Challenge International. Writings are the copyright of Buddy Martin and reprinted on this site by permission.


Page added October 22, 2004

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