As Luke closes chapter 26 of Acts he adds a comment that is as much an editorial as it is a quotation of Agrippa: …“This man [Paul] could have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar” (Acts 26:32, NIV).
Nevertheless, Paul, did appeal to Caesar, so he and Luke and some friends are placed on a ship to Rome. They encounter some difficult winds that delay their travel. Eventually, because it was so late in the year (Oct-Nov) sailing became quite perilous. Here’s Luke’s commentary:
Much time had been lost, and sailing had already become dangerous because by now it was after the Fast. So Paul warned them, “Men, I can see that our voyage is going to be disastrous and bring great loss to ship and cargo, and to our own lives also.” But the centurion, instead of listening to what Paul said, followed the advice of the pilot and of the owner of the ship. Since the harbor was unsuitable to winter in, the majority decided that we should sail on, hoping to reach Phoenix and winter there. This was a harbor in Crete, facing both southwest and northwest (Acts 27:9-12, NIV).
My suggestion to you: if you happen to be traveling with an Apostle of the caliber of Paul and he says: “Maybe we should turn around…”, please listen and turn around! As we’ll see in the weeks to come, Paul is right. Disaster lay ahead, but also an opportunity to show God’s power.
Today I want to make a few comments on Paul’s prescient statement:
- Sometimes God gives us prophetic words in order for us to change direction (Acts 16:9).
- Sometimes changing direction is out of our hands and God gives us a prophecy to prepare us for what’s ahead (Acts 21:10-15).
- Sometimes God gives us prophetic words in order to convince unbelievers of his power (1 Cor. 14:24-25).
- Sometimes God gives us a word to simply let us know that he’s with us in a challenging time (Acts 18:9).
Isn’t that exciting? Did you know the gift is available to you, too? It is…by faith when we ask God: Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy (1 Corinthians 14:1, NIV).
Ask…then listen for God’s response.