Posted by: mattcolvin | November 14, 2011

Acts 27:1-26: The Anti-Jonah

Wednesday of the 21st week after Trinity: Acts 27:1-26.

Not much to say on this one.

Note the helpful and kind Roman Centurion named Julius, who is in charge of transporting Paul and other prisoners to Rome. I can’t shake the impression that Rome, though venal and corrupt and later a persecutor, was mightily used by God to shelter the fledgling church.

Paul at first prophesies the loss of ship, cargo, and many lives, but later revises his prophecy when the Lord reveals to him that no lives will be lost after all. What’s especially interesting is the angel’s explanation: ”indeed God has granted you all those who sail with you.” Like Noah’s family, Paul’s fellow passengers are saved because they are with him.

The whole episode is a sort of reverse Jonah-situation. Rather than the crew being endangered by taking on a prophet fleeing from his mission to the capital of the world’s superpower empire (Nineveh), they take on an apostle who has undertaken his mission to the empire’s capital (Rome) despite having multiple opportunities to decline it. Where the sailors in Jonah must jettison the prophet to save their ship, and their lives are in danger as long as Jonah is with them, the sailors in Acts 27 lose their ship, but their lives are saved because Paul is with them.


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