14 July Acts 27:21-44

14 July. Paul reassures 276 people as their ship breaks up

"After the men had gone without food for a long time, Paul stood up before them and said, 'Men, you should have listened to me. You should not have sailed from Crete. Then you would not have had all this trouble and loss.'"

"'But now I tell you to cheer up because none of you will die. Only the ship will be lost. Last night an angel came to me from the God I belong to and worship. The angel said, "Paul, do not be afraid. You must stand before Caesar [Emperor Nero]. And God has promised you that he will save the lives of everyone sailing with you." So men, have courage. I trust in God that everything will happen as his angel told me. But we will run aground on an island.'"

"On the fourteenth night we were still being carried around in the Adriatic Sea [the Central Mediterranean between Greece and Italy]. About midnight the sailors thought we were close to land, so they lowered a rope with a weight on the end of it into the water. They found that the water was 20 fathoms [36 metres /120 feet] deep. They went a little further and lowered the rope again. It was 15 fathoms [27 metres /90 feet] deep. The sailors were afraid we would hit the rocks, so they threw four anchors into the water and prayed for daylight to come..."

"Just before dawn Paul began persuading all the people to eat something... 'You need it to stay alive'... Paul took some bread and thanked God for it before all of them. He broke off a piece and began eating. They all felt better and started eating, too... When they had eaten all they wanted, they began making the ship lighter by throwing the [heavy amphorae full of] grain into the sea."

"When daylight came, the sailors saw land. They did not know what land it was, but they saw a bay with a beach and wanted to sail the ship to the beach if they could. So they cut the ropes to the anchors... [and] untied the ropes that were holding the rudders [so they could steer the vessel]. Then they raised the front sail into the wind and sailed towards the beach."

"But the ship hit a sandbank. The front of the ship stuck there and could not move, but the back of the ship began to break up from the big waves."

"The soldiers decided to kill the prisoners [so they could not be found guilty of allowing prisoners to escape]... But Julius, the officer, wanted to let Paul live, and did not allow the soldiers to kill the prisoners. Instead he ordered everyone who could swim to jump into the water first and swim to land."

"The rest were to follow using wooden boards or pieces of the ship [to cling to]. And this is how all the [276] people made it safely to land."

          (Acts 27:21-44)



After fourteen days of being blown across the Mediterranean Sea, the crew began to give up all hope of riding out the storm, but Paul assured all on board that God would save their lives. He told them he had been visited by an angel from God who promised they would all survive, and only the ship would be lost.

A little later the sailors discovered, in the middle of the night, that the ship was approaching unknown land in total darkness. They dropped four anchors from the stern to stop the boat being smashed onto the rocks, and prepared to make their escape in the lifeboat.

But the Roman soldiers accompanying Paul cut the ropes holding the lifeboat so the sailors couldn’t escape.

After a quick breakfast where Paul broke the bread and divided it among the others, they lightened the ship further by jettisoning the remains of the precious cargo of grain.

At dawn, they spotted a sandy bay (now called St Paul’s Bay) where they hoped to run the ship aground. They cut the anchors loose and tried to steer the boat towards the beach using the rudders and the small foresail. But the ship ran aground on an offshore sand bar and began to break up.

Fortunately, everyone was able to swim ashore or reach the land by clinging onto debris from the ship. And so they all came safely ashore on the island of Malta (see 6 on the map on 7 July).

The photo shows St Paul's Bay, Malta.

You can see a photo of the heavy Roman amphorae that carried grain on these ships @ https://www.thebiblejourney.org/…/12-p…/paul-is-shipwrecked/.

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