Friday in the Twelfth Week of Ordinary Time

Acts 27:1-44

On to Rome, Just as God Said

Paul had appealed to Caesar, so to Caesar he would go, which is exactly what the Lord said to him the night after his first interview before the Sanhedrin in Jerusalem at least two years before: “Take courage, for as you have testified to the facts about me in Jerusalem, so you must testify also in Rome” (23:11).

Acts 27 is the account of that voyage across the Mediterranean Sea from Caesarea along the coast of Palestine all the way to Rome.  We instantly notice the return of “we” in verse one indicating that Luke is also along for the ride.  We left him in Jerusalem in 21:18 and are unsure where he was those two years Paul was imprisoned in Caesarea (perhaps he was gathering materials for his Gospel and Acts).  But he has returned again and though some might find this chapter rather dull, Luke truly outdoes himself as an historian who pays attention to detail.  New Testament scholar, F. F. Bruce, writes: “[Acts 27] has long been acknowledged as ‘one of the most instructive documents for the knowledge of ancient seamanship’” (NICNT, 474).  And though I have not read the book, Bruce acknowledges one, James Smith, in his book, The Voyage and the Shipwreck of St. Paul, who, as an experienced yachtsman and classical scholar, was able to verify the accuracy of Luke’s account across the Mediterranean, once again showing us the integrity of Scripture even to the smallest details (Ibid., 475-76).

But our concern is what God would show us here, for even in what seems to us to be an insignificant passage, God still speaks, for He speaks to us through all of His word.  The first thing I would like to point out is Paul’s courage and level-headedness when all around him, including the experienced sailors, were giving themselves up for lost.  It is a mark of a mature Christian to keep a calm demeanor and sober presence.  Why?  Because the Christian trusts in a God who is greater than the storm.  Now this does not mean that all will turn out well.  Paul knew it would only because God had revealed to him that He was sending him to Rome.  But the Christian always places himself in God’s gracious hands, no matter what happens.  And this is why he can remain calm in every circumstance.  Second, the fact that God revealed to Paul His plan did not mean that Paul was to do nothing.  On two occasions, he encouraged the men, and on another, informed the centurion not to let the sailors leave the boat.  In other words, God’s providence establishes our freedom of will; it does not exclude it.  And finally, God will have His way; Paul will get to Rome.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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