November 18

Read Acts 26

In Today's Reading:

Paul's defense before Agrippa; his voyage to Rome; storm at sea; shipwreck at Melita (Malta); Paul at Rome

When Saul of Tarsus professed his faith in Jesus Christ as the risen Savior and promised 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 forth 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 on Crete (27:8), Paul urged the crew 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 master and the owner of the ship and 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-like 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 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 Paul's 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).

Word Studies:

26:5 most straitest = most exact or careful, strictest; 26:7 instantly = earnestly; 27:7 under = around, near, on the leeward side of; 27:12 commodious = suitable; 27:30 under colour = under pretense; 28:2 barbarous = foreign, non-Greek; 28:13 fetched a compass = cast off; 28:16 suffered = permitted.

Cross Reference:

For Acts 28:26-27: See Isaiah 6:9-10.

Prayer Needs:

Pray for The English International Shortwave Radio Broadcast sponsored by James M. Eicher · Staff: Rebecca Hooper · Government Official: Sen. Ted Stevens (AK) · Country: Uzbekistan (24 million) central Asia · Major languages: Uzbek and Russian · Limited religious freedom due to Islamic influence · 68% Muslim; 4% Russian Orthodox; .5% Protestant/Catholic · Prayer Suggestion: Seek the guidance of God in meekness (Psalm 25:9).

Memory Verse for the Week: James 1:25