Acts 27

Chapter 27: Acts 27: 1-44, Shipwrecked in Malta

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, thank You that we made it into the second last chapter of our journey. Thank You for giving us persistence, perseverance, insight, and understanding, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

This was the last leg of Paul’s journey to Rome. He was arrested in Jerusalem, tried before the Sanhedrin, before Felix, before Festus, before Herod Agrippa, pronounced innocent, and imprisoned in Caesarea. Paul appealed to Caesar Augustus and Festus approved his appeal.

VV 1-3, And when it was determined that we should sail into Italy, they delivered Paul and certain other prisoners unto one named Julius, a centurion of Augustus’ band.

2 And entering into a ship of Adramyttium, we launched, meaning to sail by the coasts of Asia; one Aristarchus, a Macedonian of Thessalonica, being with us. 3 And the next day we touched at Sidon. And Julius courteously entreated Paul, and gave him liberty to go unto his friends to refresh himself.

The plural pronouns “we” and “us” mean that Luke had rejoined Paul again. Paul was placed in a prison ship Adramyttium to Rome, under a centurion named Julius. Aristarchus, a disciple from Thessalonica accompanied Paul. The centurion Julius was very kind to Paul and gave him the freedom to be with friends. The ship sailed coast to coast and arrived at Sidon the next day.

A centurion was a soldier in charge of 100 soldiers. A regiment is a battalion of 6000 soldiers.

VV 4-8, And when we had launched from thence, we sailed under Cyprus, because the winds were contrary. 5 And when we had sailed over the sea of Cilicia and Pamphylia, we came to Myra, a city of Lycia. 6 And there the centurion found a ship of Alexandria sailing into Italy; and he put us therein. 7 And when we had sailed slowly many days, and scarce were come over against Cnidus, the wind not suffering us, we sailed under Crete, over against Salmone; 8 And, hardly passing it, came unto a place which is called The fair havens; nigh whereunto was the city of Lasea.

They passed through Cyprus, Cilicia, Pamphylia, and arrived at Myra. Here, they disembarked and boarded an Alexandrian ship en route to Rome. They passed through Cnidus, Crete, Salmone, and with great difficulty, they arrived at fair havens. The sea was rough and the winds were blowing against them.

VV 9-12, 9 Now when much time was spent, and when sailing was now dangerous, because the fast was now already past, Paul admonished them, 10 And said unto them, Sirs, I perceive that this voyage will be with hurt and much damage, not only of the lading and ship, but also of our lives. 11 Nevertheless the centurion believed the master and the owner of the ship, more than those things which were spoken by Paul.

12 And because the haven was not commodious to winter in, the more part advised to depart thence also, if by any means they might attain to Phenice, and there to winter; which is an haven of Crete, and lieth toward the south west and north west.

After many days, the winds became even rougher and sailing became more dangerous by the day. The Jewish fast or Day of Atonement was already over. Paul announced to the crew that they were heading into a storm and advised the centurion to stop the journey. The centurion did not believe Paul and did not want to stop at fair havens. He hoped to reach Phoenix and disembark there.

VV 13-15, 13 And when the south wind blew softly, supposing that they had obtained their purpose, loosing thence, they sailed close by Crete. 14 But not long after there arose against it a tempestuous wind, called Euroclydon. 15 And when the ship was caught, and could not bear up into the wind, we let her drive.

Initially, the wind was gentle, but as soon as they sailed past Crete, another typhoon-like storm called Euroclydon hit the ship causing it to toss and turn.

VV 16-20, 16 And running under a certain island which is called Clauda, we had much work to come by the boat: 17 Which when they had taken up, they used helps, undergirding the ship; and, fearing lest they should fall into the quicksands, strake sail, and so were driven. 18 And we being exceedingly tossed with a tempest, the next day they lightened the ship; 19 And the third day we cast out with our own hands the tackling of the ship. 20 And when neither sun nor stars in many days appeared, and no small tempest lay on us, all hope that we should be saved was then taken away.

They sailed past at a small Island called Clauda. They used cables to stabilise the ship and lighten the ship by throwing the ship’s tackles overboard. The sky was gloomy with no sun by day and no stars by night for many days. The ship was sinking. Everyone gave up hope on survival.

VV 21-26, 21 But after long abstinence Paul stood forth in the midst of them, and said, Sirs, ye should have hearkened unto me, and not have loosed from Crete, and to have gained this harm and loss. 22 And now I exhort you to be of good cheer: for there shall be no loss of any man’s life among you, but of the ship. 23 For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve, 24 Saying, Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee. 25 Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me. 26 Howbeit we must be cast upon a certain island.

No one dared to not eat food because of fear. Paul took charged of the situation and addressed the frightened crews, sailors, prisoners, and passengers. He told them to cheer up and eat. An angel of God had appeared to him in a vision and said that he must appear before Caesar in Rome and God will save everyone onboard. However, a shipwreck was inevitable. The angel of God was Jesus Christ, whom he served and to whom he belonged. This was the 6th time that Christ had appeared to Paul.

VV 27-32, 27 But when the fourteenth night was come, as we were driven up and down in Adria, about midnight the shipmen deemed that they drew near to some country; 28 And sounded, and found it twenty fathoms: and when they had gone a little further, they sounded again, and found it fifteen fathoms. 29 Then fearing lest we should have fallen upon rocks, they cast four anchors out of the stern, and wished for the day. 30 And as the shipmen were about to flee out of the ship, when they had let down the boat into the sea, under colour as though they would have cast anchors out of the foreship, 31 Paul said to the centurion and to the soldiers, Except these abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved. 32 Then the soldiers cut off the ropes of the boat, and let her fall off.

They had drifted in the Adriatic Sea for fourteen days. About midnight, the sailors sensed that they were approaching land. They took soundings and discovered that the sea was becoming shallower and shallower. Soundings are measuring ropes with weights attached to measure the depth of the sea bed. When the sea was quite shallow, the sailors dropped four anchors into the ocean floor to stabilise the ship and prayed for daylight. When Paul saw some sailors letting down a small boat to escape, he told the centurion to stop them otherwise no one could be saved. The centurion cut the rope of the boat and foiled their attempt.

VV 33-38, 33 And while the day was coming on, Paul besought them all to take meat, saying, This day is the fourteenth day that ye have tarried and continued fasting, having taken nothing.34 Wherefore I pray you to take some meat: for this is for your health: for there shall not an hair fall from the head of any of you. 35 And when he had thus spoken, he took bread, and gave thanks to God in presence of them all: and when he had broken it, he began to eat. 36 Then were they all of good cheer, and they also took some meat. 37 And we were in all in the ship two hundred threescore and sixteen souls. 38 And when they had eaten enough, they lightened the ship, and cast out the wheat into the sea.

As daylight approached, Paul begged them to eat food. Paul took the bread, prayed, and said grace in front of everyone and started to eat. Paul said grace and prayed before non-believers as a testimony to them. They cheered up and started eating. There were 276 people on board the ship. They lightened the ship further by throwing the wheat into the sea.

VV 39-44, 39 And when it was day, they knew not the land: but they discovered a certain creek with a shore, into the which they were minded, if it were possible, to thrust in the ship. 40 And when they had taken up the anchors, they committed themselves unto the sea, and loosed the rudder bands, and hoised up the mainsail to the wind, and made toward shore. 41 And falling into a place where two seas met, they ran the ship aground; and the forepart stuck fast, and remained unmoveable, but the hinder part was broken with the violence of the waves. 42 And the soldiers’ counsel was to kill the prisoners, lest any of them should swim out, and escape. 43 But the centurion, willing to save Paul, kept them from their purpose; and commanded that they which could swim should cast themselves first into the sea, and get to land: 44 And the rest, some on boards, and some on broken pieces of the ship. And so it came to pass, that they escaped all safe to land.

At dawn, they spotted land and planned to run the ship aground. They took up the anchors and allowed the ship to run aground. The ship broke into two parts. The soldiers wanted to kill the prisoners but the centurion stopped them from carrying out their wicked plans. Everyone reached the shore safely, some by swimming, and others by floating on parts of the ship.

They landed on the Island of Malta. In the 1960s divers discovered a Roman anchor off the coast of Malta. Whether this is one of the anchors from this ship remained to be proven but it is permanently on display in a maritime museum in Malta.

Application:

A storm is an inevitable fact of life. It is not if but when. You may have to throw things overboard in a storm. Do not jump ship. Pray and wait on the Lord. He had not forsaken you. He will reveal His glory and rescue you by creating a miracle just for you.

Paul said grace before a meal in the presence of non-believers. Did you say grace in the presence of non-Christians?

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, thank You for refining us through storms. We pray for boldness, and strength to face the dark and stormy situation of the pandemic storm. We pray for anchors to stabilise our faith in the pandemic storm. We pray for protection and strength, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

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Testimonials on “Apocalypse: understanding the book of Revelation”, by Dr. Andrew C S Koh

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Simplistic! Dr Andrew C S Koh expounds Revelation in a simplistic way. He gives his views on who the personalities are, what they are doing, and bible cross-references to defend his views, Rev. Ng Wah Lok, Former principal Tung Ling Seminary, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
 
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Acts 26

Chapter 26: Acts 26: 1-32, preaching gospel to a King

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, You are I AM, Yahweh, Jehovah, Adoni, Elohim, Melchizedek, and Messiah. Thank You for bringing us almost to the end of our journey in Acts. We pray for strength energy, and perseverance to complete this journey, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

VV 1-3, Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Thou art permitted to speak for thyself. Then Paul stretched forth the hand, and answered for himself: 2 I think myself happy, king Agrippa, because I shall answer for myself this day before thee touching all the things whereof I am accused of the Jews: 3 Especially because I know thee to be expert in all customs and questions which are among the Jews: wherefore I beseech thee to hear me patiently.

Herod Agrippa was very friendly to Paul. He allowed Paul the freedom to say whatever he wanted to say. Paul was happy with this arrangement. Paul took this golden, God sent opportunity to share his testimony to King Herod Agrippa the 2nd. In Acts 9:15, the Lord said that he would share the gospel to King, Acts 9:15.

VV 4-8, 4 My manner of life from my youth, which was at the first among mine own nation at Jerusalem, know all the Jews; 5 Which knew me from the beginning, if they would testify, that after the most straitest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee. 6 And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made of God, unto our fathers: 7 Unto which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope to come. For which hope’s sake, king Agrippa, I am accused of the Jews. 8 Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that God should raise the dead?

Paul said that he was a Jew and a Pharisee. He believed in the promise of the Patriarchs and served God fervently day and night. The Jews falsely accused him of blasphemy against Judaism because he testified about the resurrection of Christ.

VV 9-11, 9 I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. 10 Which thing I also did in Jerusalem: and many of the saints did I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I gave my voice against them. 11 And I punished them oft in every synagogue, and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted them even unto strange cities.

Paul narrated his past life before he met Christ. He was once a persecutor of the Christians. He persecuted, harassed, beaten, arrested, imprisoned, and consented to the death of Christians with the blessings of the high priest in Jerusalem. He even went on a rampage to harass, beat, punish, and arrest Christians in foreign cities.

VV 12-14, 12 Whereupon as I went to Damascus with authority and commission from the chief priests, 13 At midday, O king, I saw in the way a light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun, shining round about me and them which journeyed with me.

14 And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.

Paul narrated how he met Christ on the Damascus Road. He was going to Damascus to arrest Christians. At noon, a bright dazzling light enveloped him and he fell. A voice from heaven spoke to Paul in Hebrews asking him to stop persecuting Him.

VV 15-18, 15 And I said, Who art thou, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest.16 But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee; 17 Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, 18 To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.

Paul asked the voice who He was and He said He was Jesus, whom he was persecuting. The Lord told Paul to get up because He had chosen him to be a witness to the Jews and the Gentiles, to turn them from Satan to God, from darkness to light, to forgive their sins of everyone who believe in Him.

VV 19-23, 19 Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision:20 But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance. 21 For these causes the Jews caught me in the temple, and went about to kill me.22 Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come:23 That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should shew light unto the people, and to the Gentiles.

Paul narrated what happened to him after he met Christ. He preached Christ to the Jews in Damascus, Jerusalem, Judea, to the Gentiles in other countries telling them to repent and turn to Christ. The Jews arrested him because of his faith in Christ. With God’s help and protection, he continued to preach Christ to everyone, small and great. Christ suffered and died under the hands of the Jews but God raised Him from the dead to be a light to the Jews and the Gentiles. The gospel is all about the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

VV 24-27, 24 And as he thus spake for himself, Festus said with a loud voice, Paul, thou art beside thyself; much learning doth make thee mad. 25 But he said, I am not mad, most noble Festus; but speak forth the words of truth and soberness. 26 For the king knoweth of these things, before whom also I speak freely: for I am persuaded that none of these things are hidden from him; for this thing was not done in a corner. 27 King Agrippa, believest thou the prophets? I know that thou believest.

At this stage, Festus interrupted Paul’s testimony alleging that Paul was out of his mind for making such claims. Paul said that he was speaking the truth and King Agrippa understood. There and then, Paul gave an altar call to King Agrippa to receive Christ.

VV 28-32, 28 Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian. 29 And Paul said, I would to God, that not only thou, but also all that hear me this day, were both almost, and altogether such as I am, except these bonds. 30 And when he had thus spoken, the king rose up, and the governor, and Bernice, and they that sat with them: 31 And when they were gone aside, they talked between themselves, saying, This man doeth nothing worthy of death or of bonds. 32 Then said Agrippa unto Festus, This man might have been set at liberty, if he had not appealed unto Caesar.

Herod Agrippa heard the gospel but hardened his heart, and did not respond to Paul’s altar call. Herod Agrippa almost became a Christian but a miss is as good as a mile. He missed an opportunity that might not come to him again. Agrippa issued his verdict that Paul was not guilty. He could have released Paul if he had not appealed to Caesar. Paul had to go to Rome to fulfil his God-ordained destiny.

Application

Paul took the opportunity to share his testimony to Herod Agrippa. His testimony was in three parts, before he met Christ, how he met Christ, and after he met Christ. You should compose your testimony in three parts, before, how, and after. Learn to say your testimony in a few ways and share it out whenever an opportunity arise.

Agrippa hardened his heart. Today, if you hear the gospel, do not harden your heart, Hebrews 3:15.

Hebrews 3:15, “While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation”.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, we pray for boldness to share our testimonies to non-believers without fear. We pray for wisdom to prepare our testimonies and the ability to share them out in several formats. We pray for opportunities to share our testimonies to glorify Your name, in Jesus’ name, Amen.