In Today's Scripture Reading:
Paul's defense before Agrippa; his voyage to Rome; storm at sea; shipwreck at Melita (Malta); Paul at Rome
When Saul of Tarsus confessed his faith in Jesus as the risen Savior and Messiah, Festus, the new Roman governor of Judea, exclaimed in a loud voice, Paul, thou art beside thyself. . . . But he (Paul) said, I am not mad . . . but speak . . . the words of truth (Acts 26:24-25).
Since Paul, as a Roman citizen, had appealed his case to Caesar, Festus placed him in the custody of one named Julius, a centurion of Augustus' band (27:1). Julius was to take Paul safely to Rome to stand trial before Nero, the Roman Emperor. They set sail and, after a brief docking at Sidon, continued along the northern coast of Cyprus. Stormy winds kept them from making much progress. On reaching The Fair Havens in Crete (27:8), Paul urged them to stay there during the winter months. He warned: I perceive that this voyage will be with hurt (danger) and much damage, not only of the lading (cargo) and ship, but also of our lives; but the majority of the people on board urged Julius to continue on to Phenice, and there to winter; which is an haven (harbor) of Crete (27:10-12).
Shortly afterwards, furious hurricane winds beat upon them. After two stormy weeks, their ship began to sink off the coast of Melita. Paul stood forth in the midst of them, and said. . . . be of good cheer: for there shall be no loss of any man's life among you, but of the ship. For there stood by me this night the (an) angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve, Saying, Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee (27:21-24). From this experience we learn that our judgment is only as good as our source of information.
Our life's voyage, like Paul's, may also be filled with violent storms. We may experience physical, financial, or emotional "shipwreck" and all hope that we should be saved may appear to be gone (27:20). But, there will come a day when the tempests we have weathered will seem insignificant compared to what God has accomplished through our faithfulness. Because of Christ, Paul could confidently say: I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong (II Corinthians 12:10; also Romans 5:1-5).
26:5 most straitest =b> most exact, strictest; 26:7 instantly =b> earnestly; 27:7 under =b> keeping close to; 27:12 commodious =b> suitable; 27:30 under colour =b> under pretense; 28:2 barbarous =b> foreign, non-Greek; 28:13 fetched a compass =b> cast off; 28:16 suffered =b> permitted.
For Acts 28:26-27: See Isaiah 6:9-10.
Pray for Government Official: Sen. Ted Stevens (AK) • Country: Samoa (190,000) in the South Pacific • Major languages: Samoan and English • Religious freedom • 68% Protestant; 21% Roman Catholic; 2% Baha'i; 1.1% non-Religious/other • Prayer Suggestion: Thank God for guiding you to sacrifice freely for what pleases Him (Psalm 54:6).
Memory Verse for the Week: Titus 2:13