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Acts 27:9-38 | Part 52



Psalm 57:1-2 (CSB) 1 Be gracious to me, God, be gracious to me, for I take refuge in you. I will seek refuge in the shadow of your wings until danger passes. 2 I call to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me.


  • Where did we leave off last Sunday?

Acts 27:1-8 (CSB)

1 When it was decided that we were to sail to Italy, they handed over Paul and some other prisoners to a centurion named Julius, of the Imperial Regiment.
  • Luke is a historian

  • Sir William Ramsay, one of the greatest archaeologists of all time once commented: “Luke is a historian of the first rank; not merely are his statements of fact trustworthy, he is possessed of the true historic sense…in short, this author should be placed along with the greatest of historians.”

  • A.N. Sherwin-White (famous Roman historian), said: “For Acts the confirmation of historicity is overwhelming. . . . Any attempt to reject its basic historicity must now appear absurd. Roman historians have long taken it for granted.”

  • Luke, Paul, & Aristarchus

  • Maybe Aristarchus was hitching a ride back home to Thessalonica?

2 When we had boarded a ship of Adramyttium, we put to sea, intending to sail to ports along the coast of Asia. Aristarchus, a Macedonian of Thessalonica, was with us.

3 The next day we put in at Sidon, and Julius treated Paul kindly and allowed him to go to his friends to receive their care. 4 When we had put out to sea from there, we sailed along the northern coast[b] of Cyprus because the winds were against us. 5 After sailing through the open sea off Cilicia and Pamphylia, we reached Myra in Lycia. 6 There the centurion found an Alexandrian ship sailing for Italy and put us on board.
  • This ship was an Alexandrian grain freighter

  • These boats were large, fast & well-maintained (180’ L x 45’ W)

7 Sailing slowly for many days, with difficulty we arrived off Cnidus. Since the wind did not allow us to approach it, we sailed along the south side of Crete off Salmone. 8 With still more difficulty we sailed along the coast and came to a place called Fair Havens near the city of Lasea.
  • So here they are…Fair Havens on the south side of Crete, near Lasea.


Acts 27:9-38 (CSB)

9 By now much time had passed, and the voyage was already dangerous. Since the Day of Atonement[c] was already over, Paul gave his advice 10 and told them, “Men, I can see that this voyage is headed toward disaster and heavy loss, not only of the cargo and the ship but also of our lives.”

    • the date in question is probably October 5th in the year A.D. 59

    • Approx Sept 14 – Nov 11 was extremely dangerous sailing season

    • After Nov 11, all sailing on open sea ceased til the winter ended

  • Up to this point, Paul has sailed about 3,500 miles on the Mediterranean Sea

  • Paul has already been shipwrecked 3 times & lived to tell about it

    • In 2 Corinthians 11:25 Paul says, “Three times I was shipwrecked. I have spent a night and a day in the open sea.”

11 But the centurion paid attention to the captain and the owner of the ship rather than to what Paul said.
  • All these men did on this Alexandrian grain freighter was haul grain around the Mediterranean Sea…it was their livelihood.

  • Both these guys had a great deal to lose if this ship didn’t get the grain to Rome

12 Since the harbor was unsuitable to winter in, the majority decided to set sail from there, hoping somehow to reach Phoenix, a harbor on Crete facing the southwest and northwest, and to winter there.
  • Position of the bay made Fair Havens a brutal place during winter with storms & winds

13 When a gentle south wind sprang up, they thought they had achieved their purpose. They weighed anchor and sailed along the shore of Crete.

14 But before long, a fierce wind called the “northeaster” [Euroclydon] rushed down from the island.
  • Euroclydon – literally means “Easterly Surger”

  • Wind blowing at them from the northeast to the southwest

15 Since the ship was caught and unable to head into the wind, we gave way to it and were driven along. 16 After running under the shelter of a little island called Cauda,[d] we were barely able to get control of the skiff. 17 After hoisting it up, they used ropes and tackle and girded the ship.

17 After hoisting it up, they used ropes and tackle and girded the ship.
  • They would pull the skiff onto the deck of the ship, then gird the ship or “undergird the ship”

  • This entailed passing ropes underneath the ship & then tightening them down from the deck

  • This allowed the skiff to be tied down securely onto the deck

  • Also, strengthened the hull of the ship…kept it from breaking apart so easily on the waves & rocks

Fearing they would run aground on the Syrtis, they lowered the drift-anchor, and in this way they were driven along.
  • Drift-anchor or sea anchor was dropped behind the ship attached to the stern

  • The Syrtis Sands were the sandbars running along the coast of Northern Africa

  • Behind the sandbars were quicksand & tons of rocks

  • Infamous area for wrecking ships

18 Because we were being severely battered by the storm, they began to jettison the cargo the next day. 19 On the third day, they threw the ship’s tackle overboard with their own hands.

  • They only waited 1 day before unloading the cargo

  • Unloading the grain was like throwing money into the ocean

  • 2 more days go by, & the storm still isn’t letting up

  • They decide to get rid of any & all equipment on the ship (ship’s tackle)

  • This would’ve included all ropes, rigging, gears, etc…everything!

  • NOTE: unloading the cargo & tackle were the last things to be done to save the ship. This is Plan Z.

20 For many days neither sun nor stars appeared, and the severe storm kept raging. Finally all hope was fading that we would be saved.
  • No sun. No stars. No light. No hope.

Psalm 88:1, 9 (CSB) 1 Lord, God of my salvation, I cry out before you day and night. 9 My eyes are worn out from crying. Lord, I cry out to you all day long; I spread out my hands to you.

Psalm 142:1-2 (CSB) I cry aloud to the Lord; I plead aloud to the Lord for mercy. 2 I pour out my complaint before him; I reveal my trouble to him.

Psalm 77:1-3 (CSB) I cry aloud to God, aloud to God, and he will hear me. 2 I sought the Lord in my day of trouble. My hands were continually lifted up all night long; I refused to be comforted. 3 I think of God; I groan; I meditate; my spirit becomes weak.

Psalm 141:1 (CSB) Lord, I call on you; hurry to help me. Listen to my voice when I call on you.

Psalm 130:1-2 (CSB) Out of the depths I call to you, Lord! 2 Lord, listen to my voice; let your ears be attentive to my cry for help.

Psalm 119:147 (CSB) 147 I rise before dawn and cry out for help; I put my hope in your word.

Psalm 72:12 (CSB) 12 For he will rescue the poor who cry out and the afflicted who have no helper.

Psalm 34:17 (CSB) 17 [They] cry out, and the Lord hears, and [He] rescues them from all their troubles. 18 The Lord is near the brokenhearted; he saves those crushed in spirit.

Psalm 57:1-2 (CSB) 1 Be gracious to me, God, be gracious to me, for I take refuge in you. I will seek refuge in the shadow of your wings until danger passes. 2 I call to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me.

21 Since they had been without food for a long time, Paul then stood up among them and said, “You men should have followed my advice not to sail from Crete and sustain this damage and loss.

22 Now I urge you to take courage, because there will be no loss of any of your lives, but only of the ship.
  • He tells them to take courage

  • He’s no longer giving them advice or his opinion

  • Paul is telling them what’s going to happen

23 For last night an angel of the God I belong to and serve stood by me…
  • If you are a Christian, this is your identity:

  • You are a servant of God

  • You belong to God

    • Be owned by

    • Be the property of

    • Be the possession of

    • Be held by

    • Be at the disposal of

  • You and I belong to God

23 For last night an angel of the God I belong to and serve stood by me 24 and said, ‘Don’t be afraid, Paul. It is necessary for you to appear before Caesar. And indeed, God has graciously given you all those who are sailing with you.’
  • Grace is an undeserved gift.

  • God only needs Paul to make it to Rome

  • All these other men: sailors & soldiers & prisoners could’ve died…

  • & God’s plan to get Paul before the Emperor is still possible.

  • But God saves all of them.

  • Then, watch what happens!

[Paul continues]

25 So take courage, men, because I believe God that it will be just the way it was told to me. 26 But we have to run aground on some island.”

27 When the fourteenth night came, we were drifting in the Adriatic Sea, and about midnight the sailors thought they were approaching land. 28 They took soundings and found it to be a hundred twenty feet[e] deep; when they had sailed a little farther and sounded again, they found it to be ninety feet[f] deep. 29 Then, fearing we might run aground on the rocks, they dropped four anchors from the stern and prayed for daylight to come.
  • Why does it take shipwreck & near death to get us to start praying?

30 Some sailors tried to escape from the ship; they had let down the skiff into the sea, pretending that they were going to put out anchors from the bow. 31 Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, “Unless these men stay in the ship, you cannot be saved.” 32 Then the soldiers cut the ropes holding the skiff and let it drop away.
  • The soldiers are believing Paul now!

33 When it was about daylight, Paul urged them all to take food, saying, “Today is the fourteenth day that you have been waiting and going without food, having eaten nothing. 34 So I urge you to take some food. For this is for your survival, since none of you will lose a hair from your head.”
  • Don’t over-spiritualize or hyper-spiritualize the promises of God

  • We don’t just sit & wait & pray & mediate & do nothing.

  • Paul knew this.

  • He heard from God.

  • He received a word from the Lord.

  • He believed in the promise.

  • But he was still using wisdom…using his brain.

  • & then he acted on it.

35 After [Paul] said these things and had taken some bread, he gave thanks to God in the presence of all of them, and after he broke it, he began to eat.
  • Sounds kinda like Communion, right?

36 They all were encouraged and took food themselves.
  • Paul’s example…his gratitude & his thankfulness to God…Gave these men courage & hope


    • don’t think that YOU need to be completely out of the storm before YOU are able to lead & be an encouragement & an example for others

    • God wants to use you even though you’re still in the middle of a storm

37 In all there were 276 of us on the ship. 38 When they had eaten enough, they began to lighten the ship by throwing the grain overboard into the sea.
  • Why were they throwing the grain overboard?

  • Remember, Paul’s message from the angel:

  • “But, we have to run aground on some island.”

  • The lighter the boat is…the closer to the beach the ship will run aground


  • Following Jesus is never boring

  • If we will trust Him, God will get us exactly where we need to be

  • God can use us as an example…to encourage & strengthen others


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