Acts 27:1-20 (web)
A Prophetic Shipwreck - Part I
they delivered Paul and certain other prisoners to a centurion named Julius,
of the Augustan band.
27:2 Embarking in a ship of Adramyttium,
which was about to sail to places on the coast of Asia, we put to sea;
Aristarchus, a Macedonian of Thessalonica, being with us.
27:3 The next day, we touched at Sidon. Julius treated Paul kindly,
and gave him permission to go to his friends and refresh himself.
27:4 Putting to sea from there, we sailed under the lee of Cyprus,
because the winds were contrary.
27:5 When we had sailed across the sea which is off Cilicia and Pamphylia,
we came to Myra, a city of Lycia.
27:6 There the centurion found a ship of Alexandria sailing for Italy,
and he put us on board.
27:7 When we had sailed slowly many days,
and had come with difficulty opposite Cnidus, the wind not allowing us further,
we sailed under the lee of Crete, opposite Salmone.
27:8 With difficulty sailing along it we came to a certain place called Fair Havens,
near the city of Lasea.
27:9 When much time had passed and the voyage was now dangerous,
because the Fast had now already gone by, Paul admonished them,
27:10 and said to them,
"Sirs, I perceive that the voyage will be with injury and much loss,
not only of the cargo and the ship, but also of our lives."
27:11 But the centurion gave more heed to the master
and to the owner of the ship than to those things which were spoken by Paul.
27:12 Because the haven was not suitable to winter in,
vs 3 It appears from the start, though being a prisoner, Paul was treated with a degree of respect probably stemming from the reputation he developed through the years of his captivity in Caesarea. Furthermore though awaiting his trial he was no doubt reckoned innocent, as Felix and Agrippa had already concluded. And in addition he was no doubt perceived as having an unprejudiced love for the Gentiles uncommon among Jews.
vs 9-11 It was later September or even November, a time in which sailing was dangerous due to the typical bad weather. The word "perceive" is not "oida" which is a reasoning type of perception based upon outward observations, but rather "theoreo" which is more literally to see something as an observer. But as Paul is not referring to something which he physcially sees, this indicates a vision and this word is used as such in a number of visions:
Luke 10:18 Jesus' visionAt this point I would like to compare this voyage to Jonah's. There are similarities and contrasts. Here we see Paul having a similiar non-fatalistic view as Jonah did. For Jonah was commanded to prophecy to the Ninevites, warning them of God's impending judgement. And yet Jonah believed that such may not be their fate, which is the reason he ran away so as to not give them the opportunity to repent and escape such judgement. Paul also believed that his vision was not inevitable, else he wouldn't have bothered to try and stop the journey at this time. But his attitude towards the mission was the opposite that of Jonah's. For Paul was journeying in accordance with the Lord's command in order to preach to the Gentiles that they may be saved.
"Belief" - The centurion was more persuaded by the own of the ship than by Paul, as would most people in the world, reckoning that the owner had more experience. But experience in the world can never replace God's word. For though science may tell us what normally happens, God can tell us what actually will happen. Science can tells us that if you flip a coin normally what happens is half the time it will come out heads and the other half tails, but "The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD." Prov 16:33 Thus the Lord can tell us the particular outcomes. Faith in Christ is revealed by one's faith in his apostles. But the centurion hadn't come to faith in Christ and didn't recognize Paul as God's apostle and thus compared his words to that of the ship's owner from a humanistic perspective. Those who approach the Word of God from a humanistic perspective will find little value in it, as it is written, "For we also have had the gospel preached to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith." Heb 4:2 Though people may be zealous to fulfill their worldly responsibilities, such may end up being counter-productive if they ignore God's Word.
vs 20 Often God brings people to the point of hopelessness before
saving them. It is written, "The LORD is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit." Ps 34:18 God brings
humiliation to humble us and then saves us from our circumstances.