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Acts 27:11-12

Title Acts 27:11-12

Act 27:11 (NIV) – “But the centurion, instead of listening to what Paul said, followed the advice of the pilot and of the owner of the ship.”

Note 25:  The centurion
In this verse, Luke refers to Julius by his rank, “the centurion”, and not his name. He will continue to do so for the rest of Chapter 27.

Note 26: Not listening to Paul
Luke points out “instead of listening to what Paul (the prisoner going to stand trial in Rome) said,” the centurion listened to the man who owned the vessel and the man who piloted the vessel for a living.  OF COURSE the Centurion took the advice of these men.  HeThey were the experts after all, simply by virtue of being the owner and operator of the vessel.  Also, Paul gave no indication in these verses that his warning was based on any special first hand knowledge or information provided by God.  Thus, there was nothing particularly compelling about Paul’s warning to sway the centurion from heeding the advice of the experts.

Aside from the obvious reasons listed in this verse for the Centurion listening to the vessel owner’s decisions regarding the ship’s course, the following verse gives us even more information as to why the decision to continue sailing was made.

Act 27:12 (NIV) – “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.

Note 27: Unsuitable to winter here
Luke gives us three VERY important facts:

1.   The current anchorage “was unsuitable to winter in.” This indicates that they could not stay where they were for very long under any circumstances.  They could not make it through the entire winter in this location.

2.      “The majority decided that we should sail on,”

3.      They were “hoping to reach Phoenix and winter there.  This was a harbor in Crete, facing both southwest and northwest.” Phoenix was a true harbor and offered better protection from the impending winter storms.

Note 28: What would you do?
It is easy to play Monday Morning quarterback; however, as you read these verses, try to put yourself in the position of the centurion.  Based on these verses, the facts of the situation were as follows:  (1) the current location was not suitable to winter in and they may not have been able to stay much longer, (2) a suitable port did exist at Phoenix, only 34 miles away and it was possible to winter in that port, (3) the sailing to get to Phoenix was close to the protection of the island, (4) the two most senior people on board, both of whom qualify as experts on the matter, advised that sailing for Phoenix was the wisest choice.  Oh wait!  There was the prisoner Paul that chimed in with his two cents saying: I wouldn’t do that if I were you.  It’s hard to imagine why, but Paul gets out voted (assuming he even had a vote to begin with!).
So, the leaders and the group decide to travel a little further up the coast; after all, a more suitable port was only a few hours away.  It appears to me, given all the available information we have, the decision to continue sailing was the best decision these men could make at the time.  Faced with the same situation and the same information listed above, what decision would you have made?

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