In Acts chapter 27 we find the apostle Paul as a prisoner starting on a voyage by sea from Caesarea to Rome to appear before Caesar. After making a pit stop in Sidon, Paul and the others with him travel from there to Mayra where the Centurion in charge finds an Alexandrian grain ship sailing to Rome and they all get onboard that ship for the rest of their journey. The trip starts to get a little interesting. Luke tells us that they made slow headway as the winds were against them. And when the wind would allow them to go no further, they took to port at a place called Fair Havens.
At this point, Paul warns them that they should not set sail again. Luke notes that the Day of Atonement had already passed. Calculated by the phases of the moon, the Day of Atonement fell at various times from year to year but always in late September or early October. For ancient travel on the Mediterranean, mid-September to early November was considered a dangerous time for traveling the open sea. After early November such travel ceased altogether and generally was not resumed until the beginning of February at the earliest. Paul’s advice was based on this well-known fact. It was well into the dangerous season. Any travel now would be risky business. They had already encountered bad winds. Paul had been in peril at sea before. He knew the danger (2 Cor 11:25). But the Centurion did not heed Paul’s warnings and when they saw a break in the winds they set sail once again.
As chapter 27 progresses we learn that Paul was right. They encounter a fierce storm and the ship, as well as the crew, take a beating. So violent were these hurricane force winds that the men begin to tie ropes around the bottom of the ship in order to keep it together. They became afraid that they would run aground on the nearby sandbars so they decide to drop anchor and try to wait out the storm. After a few days of waves beating the tattered ship, they start throwing cargo overboard to lighten the load of the vessel. They were giving up all hope of being saved.
Suddenly, Paul stands up before the men and says,
Men, you should have taken my advice not to sail from Crete; then you would have spared yourselves this damage and loss. But now I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed. Last night an angel of the God whose I am and whom I serve stood beside me and said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar; and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.’ So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me. Nevertheless, we must run aground on some island.
After 14 days of being stranded at sea, they found an unfamiliar land. This is my favorite part.
Cutting loose the anchors, they left them in the sea and at the same time untied the ropes that held the rudders. Then they hoisted the foresail to the wind and made for the beach. But the ship struck a sandbar and ran aground. The bow stuck fast and would not move, and the stern was broken to pieces by the pounding of the surf.
The soldiers planned to kill the prisoners to prevent any of them from swimming away and escaping. But the centurion wanted to spare Paul’s life and kept them from carrying out their plan. He ordered those who could swim to jump overboard first and get to land. 44The rest were to get there on planks or on pieces of the ship. In this way everyone reached land in safety.
All 276 men onboard that ship walked onto that dry land. They were all saved.
When they started their journey, it was a routine day in their life. Then the storm came. The winds of the storm were fiercely against them. Their ship was torn and stranded – beat up and broken. They lost all hope. They were accepting a fate of death. But God had other plans and provided a way to salvation. When they were told of this salvation, they literally cut the chains that had them bound to death and ran towards that salvation. 276 men got on a ship. 276 men found themselves in a hopeless situation. And then 276 men stepped onto solid ground.
I am pretty sure you are catching my point here, right?
So often we find ourselves in desperate situations and obstacles that feel hopeless. We are bound by the weight of guilt, comparison, bitterness, and doubt.
When we cut the anchors that bind us and run for the arms of Jesus we will always reach Him with open arms.
Have you made decisions like the Centurion that have put you in a hopeless situation? Are you like Paul and Luke, at a place in life that is a hot mess?
Cut your chains my friend. Just cut ’em. Those men didn’t think about what to do, or wonder what their friends might think, they act with reckless abandon to their salvation. What is stopping you from doing the same?
I challenge you today, turn loose of your anchors and run into the arms of Jesus. He is their waiting for you.
This post is a part of the Jesus & Coffee linkup. The theme is open as we start our linkup back up and all faith-based posts are welcome. Click on the blue frog for more information or to add your post.
 Polhill, J. B. (1992). Acts (Vol. 26, p. 513). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.
 Polhill, J. B. (1992). Acts (Vol. 26, p. 518). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.
 Polhill, J. B. (1992). Acts (Vol. 26, p. 523). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.
 Polhill, J. B. (1992). Acts (Vol. 26, pp. 528–529). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.
 Polhill, J. B. (1992). Acts (Vol. 26, p. 529). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.
Anna Smit says
What a powerful picture this gives. And oh how I need to be cutting those chains. Thanks so much for this, Jen. God’s blessing is pouring out of your hard, hard journey. Thank you for sharing this with us.
Thank you Anna <3
Danay Escanaverino says
Thank you for sharing this wonderful story, lots to think about.
You are quite welcome. Thank you for stopping in
Ms. Mapp says
Thank you so much for this post. This month is always the hardest for me because I lost my daughter on August 25th almost three years ago. I know that I need to celebrate her by doing the thing’s she loved at one point. Thanks for allowing me to slowly cut away the chains of guilt and start living again.
Oh goodness, I can’t imagine how that feels. I will be praying for you during this time. <3
This is such a rich story of how deep, how wide, how long God’s love for us is. I love how you pulled out the parallels here! Thanks for linking up at #TeaAndWord last week, friend! God bless you this week!!!