In Acts 27, Paul the apostle is a captive traveling by ship to stand trial in Rome. His crime is preaching the gospel that Christ has died, Christ has risen, and Christ will come again. Travel delays postpone the voyage so that they are traversing dangerous winter seas. Such a severe storm drives them along and batters them for days that the experienced professional sailors reach their wits’ end. They begin to jettison cargo. Dr. Luke the gospel writer served as companion to Paul on this journey and preserved for us this first-person account:
And on the third day they threw the ship’s tackle overboard with their own hands. When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small tempest lay on us, all hope of our being saved was at last abandoned.Since they had been without food for a long time, Paul stood up among them and said, “Men, you should have listened to me and not have set sail from Crete and incurred this injury and loss. Yet now I urge you to take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. For this very night there stood before me an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I worship, and he said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar. And behold, God has granted you all those who sail with you.’ So take heart, men, for I have faith in God that it will be exactly as I have been told. But we must run aground on some island.”When the fourteenth night had come, as we were being driven across the Adriatic Sea, about midnight the sailors suspected that they were nearing land (Acts 27:19-27, ESV).