Why does Luke use more ink to describe the journey from Caesarea to Malta than Pentecost, or the council of Jerusalem or Paul’s three years in Ephesus? It might be that Luke wants Theophilus to know that Paul is under divine protection. More likely it is because the story of Acts is about to end and we, the readers, are carrying on where he leaves off. He wants this chapter to teach us an essential insight for reaching people to Jesus – God wants you to be ignored.
“‘Men I can see that our voyage is going to be disastrous’… But the centurion, instead of listening to what Paul said, followed the advice of the pilot and of the owner of the ship.” Acts 27:10-11
That’s tough – we like to be listened to, taken seriously, and quickly lose heart when we aren’t. Winston Churchill once said, in a quintessentially British way, “success is going from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm”! He railed about Hitler’s Germany for years and was ignored, while Chamberlain pursued disarmament and appeasement. When he came to power in the dark hours of 1940, it was because he had seen through Hitler from the beginning. Churchill himself wrote “My warnings over the last six years had been so numerous, so detailed, and are now so terribly vindicated that no one could gainsay me.”
Luke wants us to be the same – Paul’s prophecy of disaster was ignored. The spiritual aspect of the storm that we will read of tomorrow is hinted at by Luke’s use of sozo, the Greek word for save, so many times in the passage. When the passage turns around, they will listen.
Mark Dever wrote “We do not fail in our evangelism if we faithfully tell the Gospel to someone who is not converted, we fail only if we don’t faithfully tell the Gospel at all. Evangelism is not converting people; it’s telling them that they need to be converted and telling them how they can be”
Don’t be put off when people ignore you, or refuse to listen. God wants you to carry on, with no loss of enthusiasm.
Posted by: Andy Moyle
On: 8th Jul, 2018 at 5:49 am