Introduction: Review previous lesson.
After their brief stop at Sidon the ship encountered what Luke calls “contrary winds.”
When we had put to sea from there, we sailed under the shelter of Cyprus, because the winds were contrary. And when we had sailed over the sea which is off Cilicia and Pamphylia, we came to Myra, a city of Lycia.
So, because of the contrary winds they took a route that allowed them to be sheltered by Cyprus. The route was more “out of the way” but obviously safer than sailing directly into the headwinds. At the time of their journey it was likely August which meant that sailing season was coming to a close. The winter winds would be coming in from September to March when it would be too dangerous to sail on the Mediterranean. Historians estimate that the journey from Sidon to Myra into a headwind would have taken about nine days. By this time they were getting dangerously close to the close of of sailing season.
So Luke tells us in Acts 27:6
There the centurion found an Alexandrian ship sailing to Italy, and he put us on board.
Explain the two main types of ships
Explain the significance of the port in Myra and its relationship to Egypt
Explain the centurions choice to board a larger, more seaworthy ship
Luke then tells us in
When we had sailed slowly many days, and arrived with difficulty off Cnidus, the wind not permitting us to proceed, we sailed under the shelter of Crete off Salmone.
Apparently the winds were increasing in intensity so that it was even difficult for the larger ship to continue the journey. They were unable to make it to Cnidus and so they turned a little more out of the way passed the island Salmone and under the shelter of the island Crete.
As they did this the weather continued to worsen
Passing it with difficulty, we came to a place called Fair Havens, near the city of Lasea.
The port of Fair Havens was anything but a fair haven. It was a small port on an open bay protected by only two small islands. Luke implies that supplies and accommodations may have been too sparse to stay here for the winter.
And because the harbor was not suitable to winter in, the majority advised to set sail from there also, if by any means they could reach Phoenix, a harbor of Crete opening toward the southwest and northwest, and winter there.
According to Luke it was now the beginning of October
Now when much time had been spent, and sailing was now dangerous because the Fast was already over, Paul advised them,
Crossing the sea at this time of year would have been very dangerous. However, the captain and the crew were desperate. Not only did they not want to stay the winter in Fair Havens but they also probably wanted to get to Rome or at least a port where they could sell their cargo and get paid. To stay in Fair Havens would be to delay getting paid for four months.
The gamble was this: get to Rome and get paid or die trying. Paul could see what was coming. He had already been through a shipwreck and probably did not want to go through another one.
Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep;
So Paul advised them
Now when much time had been spent, and sailing was now dangerous because the Fast was already over, Paul advised them, saying, “Men, I perceive that this voyage will end with disaster and much loss, not only of the cargo and ship, but also our lives.”
Leaders Take Initiative
Leaders Take Initiative
Again, Paul was outranked by almost everyone. There was the captain and his crew and the centurion and his soldiers. Paul had no right to speak, but he took the initiative and spoke out clearly in order to avoid a crisis.
Eventually, however, the centurion was swayed by the majority
Nevertheless the centurion was more persuaded by the helmsman and the owner of the ship than by the things spoken by Paul. And because the harbor was not suitable to winter in, the majority advised to set sail from there also, if by any means they could reach Phoenix, a harbor of Crete opening toward the southwest and northwest, and winter there.
The majority made the decision for purely pragmatic reasons. No one wanted to stay in Fair Havens.
Leaders Use Good Judgment
Leaders Use Good Judgment
Wise leaders seek to implement wise judgment. Leaders do not gamble with peoples’ lives. Paul had been in shipwrecks before and was using his better judgment. By rejecting good judgment the leaders on that ship subjected everyone’s lives to unnecessary harm. The fastest way to lose trust is to risk the well-being of others without first counting the cost.
Although Paul was the lone voice of reason, the others did not feel that he had enough experience or credibility to weigh in and so they decided to make the trip to Phoenix. Phoenix was a better and more protected harbor. Once there, they could then decide whether or not to continue to Rome.
At first, the weather seemed favorable.
When the south wind blew softly, supposing that they had obtained their desire, putting out to sea, they sailed close by Crete.
However, their good fortune did not last long.
But not long after, a tempestuous head wind arose, called Euroclydon.
This was a strong winter wind from the northeast. It was now impossible to turn the ship toward Phoenix.
Luke tells us that the winds were so strong that they had to take in the skiff
So when the ship was caught, and could not head into the wind, we let her drive. And running under the shelter of an island called Clauda, we secured the skiff with difficulty.
And even undergird the ship
When they had taken it on board, they used cables to undergird the ship; and fearing lest they should run aground on the Syrtis Sands, they struck sail and so were driven.
They were now at the mercy of the sea
And because we were exceedingly tempest-tossed, the next day they lightened the ship. On the third day we threw the ship’s tackle overboard with our own hands.
They only would have gotten rid of their tools (which were their livelihood) if it was a life and death situation.
Without tools and without being able to see the sky they didn’t even have a means to navigate
Now when neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small tempest beat on us, all hope that we would be saved was finally given up.
Conclusion: At this point the men resigned themselves to the fact that they were going to die. However, the stage was now set for Paul to take the lead.