Paul, as a prisoner, was put on a ship for Italy, along with friends, sailors, centurions, and other prisoners. The trip became dangerous. Paul began to admonish the centurion that the voyage would cause damage to the ship and to the lives of those sailing. The area they were in was not suitable to stay during winter, so they decided to try and make it to a more desirous location to winter. Even though they tried to travel close to land, a large storm hit and the situation looked bleak.
They had gone some time without food and Paul stood up and basically said, “I told you so,” but also gave them a bit of encouragement. Beginning in verse 21 Paul says, “Men, you ought to have followed my advice and not to have set sail from Crete and incurred this damage and loss. Yet now I urge you to keep up your courage, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. For this very night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood before me, saying, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar; and behold, God has granted you all those who are sailing with you.’ Therefore, keep up your courage, men, for I believe God that it will turn out exactly as I have been told. But we must run aground on a certain island.” God sent an angel to encourage Paul and he encouraged those with him. I pray that when God gives me encouragement, I can pass that along to others. I pray that I realize the ministry, even in encouraging others.
Paul not only encouraged them that they would survive, but that they needed to eat. Paul blessed the bread and ate. The others also took food. This is an instance that shows us how often our example to others can influence them. If we are not following a Godly example, it can encourage them in a negative way. I pray my encouragement to others will be a Godly example and when it is not, God puts people in place to point that out to me.
The soldiers planned to kill the prisoners who were present on the ship so they would not escape after being ship-wrecked The centurion wanted to deliver Paul safely and kept them from following through. There were 276 people on the ship and they were all brought safely to land. I pray we can remember that no matter the circumstances, God’s plan will always prevail!