Acts 27: 1
When it was decided that we would sail for Italy, Paul and some other prisoners were handed over to a centurion named Julius, who belonged to the Imperial Regiment.
2 Corinthians 11: 23-28
I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. I have laboured and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches.
All of you will of course have heard of the Titanic. Some of you will have visited the Titanic tourist attraction in Belfast. When the Titanic was built just over 100 years ago it was the largest and most luxurious ship at that stage which had ever been built. It was called the ‘unsinkable ship’. In fact a passenger, as she got on board, asked one of the crew: “Is this ship really unsinkable?” To which he replied: “Yes Madam, God himself couldn’t sink this ship if He wanted to.” Not the smartest thing to say.
Over the next week or so we will be looking at how to survive a shipweck, journeying with Paul through Acts 27 and 28. Paul was someone who was familiar with danger on both land and sea.
In one of his letters he’s telling his readers about some of what he’s gone through while preaching the Gospel and he says this:
“Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move.” (2 Cor 11: 25)
Imagine being shipwrecked three times! And actually, in the chapters we’re going to look at over the few weeks, this story takes place after he’s written that letter – so he ends up being shipwrecked 4 times in total. You’d almost think there was an enemy trying to get rid of him.And yet he survives every single one of them.
The reality is, like the Apostle Paul, we’re going to face some storms. You can’t go through life without facing rough seas. Life is never all smooth sailing. But some storms are worse than others. Some difficulties and trials and things you go up against, hit you much harder than others, they do more damage, they could take you under, finish you off, cause you to sink and not get back up. That’s why we need to see how we can build character qualities and traits and disciplines into our lives that will make us unsinkable.
Let's just give a little bit of background for today.
“When it was decided that we would sail for Italy, Paul and some other prisoners were handed over to a centurion named Julius, who belonged to the Imperial Regiment.” (Acts 27: 1)
Paul has been under house arrest in Caesarea for 2 years because of charges brought against him by the Jewish authorities. He’s been stuck in legal limbo, he’s innocent but there’s been no trial. So he’s had enough. Being a Roman citizen he exercises his right to appeal his case to the highest court in the Empire, and to go to Rome and stand before Caesar, the Emperor himself, to face trial.
As we will see tomorrow, Paul has always wanted to visit Rome. However, sometimes we get what we want but not in a way we would ever have expected.