“Take heart, men, for I believe God that it will be just as it was told me”Acts 27:25
This account of Paul’s shipwreck has many things to teach us. First and foremost is the quote above. As we read the Bible we find multitudes of similar situations where a person or people have taken God at His word literally. It is folly not to do so. Paul had been told by an angel sent by God that if everyone stayed on the ship all would be saved. Only the ship would be lost.
Paul, God’s man, had warned against taking this journey at this time (v 10) but the experts contradicted him because they had a vested interest (v 11). The majority also ignored his warning because they were impatient (v 12). In the Bible we notice that the experts and the majority are frequently wrong. When the storm hit they believed they could weather it without Divine help and took the usual means to keep the ship afloat. The ship’s tackle was thrown overboard on the third day (v 19) and later the ship’s cargo followed but none of this helped.
In this dire situation when all hope was lost (v 20) only the man of God had an answer and eventually the others allowed him to take the lead. For any to survive, they all had to stay on the ship (v 31). Some, who did not trust Paul’s word from God, tried to leave but were thwarted (v 30). Paul knew the day of deliverance was at hand and led the crew, soldiers and passengers in thanks to God for their deliverance before they were saved. That is true faith. The end was as the angel of God had told Paul. The ship was lost and everyone on board was saved (v 44).
The ship is a type of Christ. He died that we might live. All who are in Christ will be kept safe. The key to salvation is in verse twenty five quoted above. Like Paul, we must take God at His word and stay with Jesus Christ. The centurion, named Julius (v 1) was persuaded by the experts and the majority before the storm (v 11) but later we discover that he chose to believe Paul (v 31). Later still, he was protective of Paul (v 43). The faith of Paul did not keep him from the storm and shipwreck but it was the means God used to cause the centurion, and probably others, to realize that God’s word is superior to that of the experts and multitude. Whether any received eternal salvation we are not told but there is a clear salvation message and illustration for us. Paul took God’s word literally and so should we.