14 May 2020


In any time but the most recent, travel has been difficult and risky. Paul was an experienced traveler, probably as much if not more than Julius, the centurion of the escort taking him to Rome. Sea travel in the Mediterranean was risky in those times, when most vessels were not deep water.
It is worth noting that the ship owners thought the risk was reasonable, and ignored an apostle among them. The fast is the day of atonement, which is in late September, and although it is not winter, storms are known in late spring in the Mediterranean, sufficient in 2018 to shut the Athens ferries.

A car drives through seawater from crashing waves on the road during bad weather at the port of Rafina, east of Athens, on Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018. Severe weather warnings remain in effect around Greece, halting ferry services and prompting school closures. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

Acts 27:1-12

27 And when it was decided that we should sail for Italy, they delivered Paul and some other prisoners to a centurion of the Augustan Cohort named Julius. 2 And embarking in a ship of Adramyttium, which was about to sail to the ports along the coast of Asia, we put to sea, accompanied by Aristarchus, a Macedonian from Thessalonica. 3 The next day we put in at Sidon. And Julius treated Paul kindly and gave him leave to go to his friends and be cared for. 4 And putting out to sea from there we sailed under the lee of Cyprus, because the winds were against us. 5 And when we had sailed across the open sea along the coast of Cilicia and Pamphylia, we came to Myra in Lycia. 6 There the centurion found a ship of Alexandria sailing for Italy and put us on board. 7 We sailed slowly for a number of days and arrived with difficulty off Cnidus, and as the wind did not allow us to go farther, we sailed under the lee of Crete off Salmone. 8 Coasting along it with difficulty, we came to a place called Fair Havens, near which was the city of Lasea.

9 Since much time had passed, and the voyage was now dangerous because even the Fast was already over, Paul advised them, 10 saying, “Sirs, I perceive that the voyage will be with injury and much loss, not only of the cargo and the ship, but also of our lives.” 11 But the centurion paid more attention to the pilot and to the owner of the ship than to what Paul said. 12 And because the harbour was not suitable to spend the winter in, the majority decided to put out to sea from there, on the chance that somehow they could reach Phoenix, a harbour of Crete, facing both southwest and northwest, and spend the winter there.


One could argue that Paul was experienced. Like a good mountain guide, he knew when to turn back, and when to hunker down. This practical skill is learned the hard way: cold miserable nights when you have taken the risk, but better that way than taking risks in a rough sea or a on a vicious mountain. But it is fair to say that he was warned. He then did his duty. he warned the managers of the expedition.

The responsibility then lies elsewhere. In this time when the authorities do not listen, we should take comfort in this.