Paul’s Advice – Initially Rejected

To the graduating class, I bequeath the good advice that I gave to the students of former years. It really is as good as new, for very few have ever used it. (Raymond L. Nooman). … More

Advice

As Paul embarked upon his last journey, at least three things must have encouraged him (vv. 1-3). Luke, who dropped out of sight after leaving Paul in the hands of James and the elders of the Jerusalem church, (21:18) is with him. Julius, a hardened Roman centurion who was assigned to guard Paul, developed a respect for him and gave a certain amount of freedom (v. 3) and later spared his life (v. 43). The third blessing was Aristarchus, the man who was dragged into the theater at the beginning of the riot in Ephesus (19:29; 20:4), chose to act as a slave to Paul on this journey, rather than be separated from him. Loyalty can go no deeper than this.

The voyage began by coasting up to Sidon, where Paul was allowed to visit His Christian friends in the Church, presumably with a soldier to accompany him (v. 3). It is interesting to trace this journey on a map and try to visualize the trip. The centurion took his prisoners off the ship at Myra, and changed them to another ship which had come across the Mediterranean Sea from Alexandria, in North Africa, and was going to Rome (vv. 4-8).

“The Fast” in verse 9 alludes to Yom Kippur, which that year fell in October, so they were in the dangerous period for travel, which ran from about mid-September to mid-November, at which time all navigation ceased until winter was over. This led Paul to predict that serious danger was ahead of them, and he recommended that they remain at Fair Havens and not attempt to go on (v. 8). But Fair Havens was not a very good harbor, nor was it near any sizeable town where the winter days might be enjoyed by the crew. So the centurion and the pilot of the ship disregarded Paul’s advice, maybe thinking “What do preachers know about navigation?” (vv. 10-12). That is the way it so often is. The scales come down on the side of the so called expert, on the side of science and scholarship, on the side of the man whose opinion is weighted by his position, by his learning.

Application

It has been said that the trouble with good advice is that it interferes with your plans. Lord, help me to be a person who searches your Word and seeks advice from those who are in touch with You. I don’t want to be a person who thinks I have all the answers.

Acts 27:1-12 (English Standard Version)


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