It's Not Over Yet
And when it was decided that we should sail for Italy, they delivered Paul and some other prisoners to a centurion of the Augustan Cohort named Julius. And embarking in a ship of Adramyttium, which was about to sail to the ports along the coast of Asia, we put to sea, accompanied by Aristarchus, a Macedonian from Thessalonica. — Acts 27:1
So today, I am going to give a quick overview of Paul's journey to Rome. If you are watching the video today, you will see a map, and it will guide you through a few of the stops on this trip. We start in Caesarea, where Paul has been in prison for the last couple of years. Governor Festus and King Agrippa send him on to Italy. Paul boards his first of three ships in this very long journey. But with him are two friends. One is Luke, the author of this book. And the reason I know that Dr. Luke is with him because he uses the word "we" above. We also know Aristarchus, one of his good friends from Thessalonica, joins him. And it appears that Julius, the centurion who is responsible for getting him to Rome, gives Paul a lot of leeway along this journey.
Their first stop is a town named Sidon, and Paul leaves the ship with his friends for a short reprieve, probably while the crew off-loads some cargo. Then they set sail next to Myra, and Paul explains the "winds were against them" for most of this short trip. They board a second ship in Myra with 276 passengers that take them "very slowly" to Cnidus. Next, because of the north wind, they head south to the island of Crete and land at Salmone. They make a short stop and try navigating south around Crete but do not make much progress and end up stopping again at Fair Havens. But right here in Fair Havens, there sounds like there was a little bit of debate. The captain wants to go on, probably because he wants to get paid, but he is having a hard time navigating the ship, given it is now winter and the winds are challenging to navigate. So Paul tries to persuade them not to go on. But the centurion and the captain decide to push ahead around the island of Crete to a town called Phoenix, where they think they can stay for the winter months. So they take off and catch a surprising south wind and try navigating around the island, staying close to shore sheltered from the north wind. But then a strong north wind strikes and carries them out to sea. They are pulled out to sea and have no choice but to let the wind take them and end up running onto a tiny uninhabited island called Clauda. This damages the boat's hull, and now they have to reinforce it with straps to continue. But the situation only worsens because now they are deep in cloud cover for many days and begin to despair, resulting in them abandoning cargo and tackle. This situation continued for 14 nights until they finally hit a reef and ran aground on the island of Malta. In Malta, they seem to run into some tribal people and stay here for the rest of the winter, which was about three months. Then in the spring, they board a third ship they travel to Syracuse, which appears to be an easy trip north. Then they make another short trip to Rhegium. And then one more short journey by sea to Puteoli. And then a few days later they finally arrive by land in Rome.
But get this. This trip started in the fall of 57 A.D. and ended sometime in the spring of 58 A.D. This suggests it probably took him 5-6 months to arrive in Rome. And maybe closer to six months. But Paul took this trip when he was 54 years old. This is no easy trip for a 54-year-old man. But as we have learned in Acts, Paul was always willing to do hard things to accomplish God's mission. He understood that challenges produced great character and amazing stories along the way. Even though you'll notice he doesn't take another trip after this. And I don't blame him.
But did you know that this same trip today from Tel Aviv to Rome only takes three hours and forty minutes? Not six months. And guess how much it costs? $39 for a round-trip ticket. I think if Paul were alive today, he might have preferred this. But if he did, he would have missed out on all adventures he experienced along the way. And over the next few days, which will be our last few days in the book of Acts, we are going to discover some of the amazing things God did on this final trip of Paul to Rome.
ASK THIS: Is there something you have done that was both challenging and amazing? (Share it below.)
DO THIS: Do something challenging today and be amazed.
PRAY THIS: God, show me the adventure is not over yet. Present me with a challenge that brings glory to your name and produces character in my life.
PLAY THIS: for King & Country - It's Not Over Yet.
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Read through the Bible daily with Vince Miller.