by Henry T. Vriesen
A ship with a number of prisoners on board, left the port of Caesarea. One of the prisoners was the apostle Paul. Luke and Aristarchus of Thessalonica went with Paul. The ship sailed northward and came to Myra, a city of Asia Minor. Here the passengers were transferred to another ship, which was sailing from Alexandria to Italy with a cargo of wheat from the fields of Egypt. From Myra the ship went west, but the progress was slow, for the wind was unfavorable. Finally, after sailing for a number of days, the passengers were glad to see the large island of Crete. Here they stopped in a harbor called the Fair Havens.
When the captain was about to go on, Paul protested and said, “Sirs, I perceive that this voyage will be with hurt and much damage, not only of the lading and ship, but also of our lives.” He urged them to remain in that port during the dangerous winter season. The harbor was not very good, and the captain and many of the passengers were of the opinion that they could reach Phenice, to stop for the winter. So on the first fair day the ship left the harbor, following the shore of the island of Crete. But not long after there arose a tempestuous storm, which the ship could not weather and it was thrown out of its course away from the island into the open sea. It was impossible to go back, neither could they go on to the port for which they were bound. So the ship was tossed about on the angry waves.
To make the vessel lighter, a part of the cargo was thrown overboard; also everything that could be spared was cast into the sea. They waited anxiously for the raging storm to calm down, but the storm raged on from day to day, with neither sun nor stars appearing in many days. Gloom and despair seized the hearts of the crew and the passengers; all hope that they should be saved was taken away. Among the two hundred and seventysix people in the ship were three—Paul, Luke and Aristarchus—who believed that “If God be for us, who can be against us.” One day, while the storm was raging, Paul turned to the sailors and passengers with a message of comfort, saying, “Sirs, ye should have hearkened unto me, and not have loosed from Crete, and to have gained this harm and loss. And now I exhort you to 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. Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me. Howbeit we must be cast upon a certain island.”For further information on this resource, click here.