Acts 27 v 21 - 44

This is in parts a rather technical passage and I am no sailor! It is also a visceral description of a frightening episode on board a ship. Apparently, corn ships were not small-they could be as large as 140 feet long-but they had serious disadvantages for coping with storms in their build. They had no rudder, instead they were steered with two great paddles, so consequently difficult to manage. They had only one great mast and sail, so that they could not sail into the wind, and in times of storm the mast would often spring out of position so that the ship sank.

Apart from the storm, what is the amazing here is that Paul took charge! The prisoner became the captain of the 276 aboard and the Roman commander listened to him. Paul told them that they would all be saved if they did what he told them to do, because God had told him in a vision. However, Paul was not so heavenly-minded that he was no earthly use: he urged everyone to eat their fill, to prepare them for the much needed efforts ahead.

There is a strange aura of calm surrounding Paul at this point. He is surrounded by panicked men of the sea, the wind and waves are raging, there is no time to think and yet he is sure that he will arrive in Rome: his faith in God is absolute!

Again the Roman commander acts justly and wisely in allowing the prisoners to make their way to land, and just as Paul prophesied, they all get safely to land on the island that is called Malta.

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