A Difficult Journey -- Shipwreck
Text: Acts chapter 27
(Note: This sermon has been presented in a very different manner – by a dramatic monologue about the events recorded in chapter 27 of the book of Acts. Hope you will go along for this historical
journey as Pastor Kent shares it. via live-streaming.)
Following is the narritive of Luke, the companion of Paul on this "difficult journey. At the end of Kent's dramatic presentation,
be sure to give special attention to the questions presented.
Most of us have experienced some "difficult journey" in
life and can benefit from considering these lessons learned
"I am so glad to be with you this morning. I was enlisted to speak to you today about prayer. As I thought about what I would say to you today the Spirit has prompted me to share with you an experience when I learned much about prayer and faith.
I guess the story begins when Paul was arrested in the Temple. Jews from Asia had stirred the people up into a mob through lies and half-truths and Paul was about to be killed but word got to the commander of the Roman cohort and he came to investigate.
The commander imprisoned Paul and was preparing to have him flogged when Paul informed him that he was a Roman citizen. Paul testified before the Council in Jerusalem, and then was sent to Caesarea to testify before the governor Felix in Caesarea. Felix kept Paul imprisoned for two years until Festus replaced him as governor. Festus was approached by the Council in Jerusalem
who brought up the charges against Paul again. When Festus
arrived in Caesarea, he investigated the matter, and accepting
Paul’s appeal to Caesar, prepared to send him to Rome. Shortly
thereafter The King arrived, and Festus shared the dilemma of
Paul with him. Festus was sending Paul to Rome but did not
have any true criminal charges against him. King Agrippa agreed
to hear from Paul and having heard his testimony he agreed that
Paul had done nothing worthy of death or even imprisonment, but
he would need to go to Rome because he had appealed to Caesar.
Paul was delivered to Julius a centurion to be taken along with
some other prisoners to Rome. Aristarchus and I determined to
go with him to Rome. We boarded an Asian ship to begin our
journey, planning to sail along the coast. It was late summer,
and already the winds made sailing difficult. We sailed from
Caesarea to Sidon, then along the coast of Cilicia and Pamphylia,
eventually landing in Myra.
We changed ships there, joining an Alexandrian crew headed
to Italy. We sailed for several days, but the wind was strongly
against us. Eventually we made it to Cnidus. Though we had
planned to cross the Aegean Sea to Corinth, the winds were
too contrary, so we headed south to sail in the shelter of Crete.
Having passed Salmone, we came to the southern side of Crete,
to a small port town of Fair Havens, near the city of Lasea to
reprovision. The sailing had been difficult as it was already
Mid-October, and we were concerned about continuing the
journey. Paul began to discuss matter with Julius the centurion.
Paul felt that the journey at this time would be extremely
dangerous, possibly leading to the loss of the cargo and even
of lives. In those days sailing the sea after November 11 was
Nevertheless, the captain of the ship felt that further progress
was possible. (I have never met a captain of a ship that felt that
the seas were too difficult for his sailing ability. I suppose it is
just the sailor mentality.) The consensus was to make for Phoenix
further west along the coast of Crete. The port there was better
able to accommodate the ship during the winter months.
The winds had turned favorably, and we began to sail along the
coast to Phoenix. Then a violent storm poured down from the
Aegean Sea and crested the mountains of Crete and slammed
the ship. We could not turn into the wind, and eventually gave
into it and were driven south. We were barely able to control
the ship, but eventually were able to come under the shelter of
the island of Clauda. There was no port or bay that could take
us, but in the slight shelter the island offered, we began to make
serious precautionary measures.
The sailors did everything they could to strengthen the ship.
Cables were strapped from side to side to hold the ship together.
A sea anchor was set hoping to slow the ship. (A sea anchor was
often a large rock secured with long ropes that would be cast over
to provide some further drag on the ship to keep from being driven
by the storm.) Some were even fearful that we would crash on the
northern shores of Africa, so strong was the wind pushing us south.
There was no let up the next day. The waves were even greater and
the shipped was being tossed about like a child’s toy. The captain
with great reluctance began to throw some of the cargo overboard
to lighten the ship. After two more days of this, they even began to
throw over some of the ships tackle. The yardarm and mainsail
were already being drug behind the ship to slow our speed.
Worse still, we had no idea where we were, or even what direction
we were headed. We did not see the sun for days and could not
adjust our course for the storm clouds at night. We could only see
a short distance beyond the ship and had little time to react to the
great waves hitting the ship on every side.
Everyone began to give up hope. I was busy, acting as the ships
doctor. There was much dehydration as no one was able to keep
any food down. The stench within the ship was overpowering.
There were also many bruises and scrapes and even some broken
bones so violent was the tossing about. The manifest of the ship
was 276 people, and the fear was pervasive. When you are
powerless against the forces of nature around you, and you can
do nothing to change your present circumstances, despair presses
into your heart.
After several days, the food stores were getting low, and people
were getting restless. Paul spoke, saying “You should have listened
to me, and we would not have incurred this loss, nevertheless,
keep up your courage! God will spare every life, even though the
ship will be lost. God has sent a messenger to me tonight and told
me not to be afraid. God has destined me to speak before Caesar,