by Pastor Ayo Sparks
Chapter 27 | (An Academical/Theological Approach)
People have always been fascinated by stories of sea voyages the adventures of Odysseus in Greek literature, the story of Jonah in the Old Testament, and the frequent storms of the Sea of Galilee in the New.
We are also familiar with many such stories in modern times such as Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe and Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift, as well as the heart-breaking stories of the sinking of the Titanic.
The last phase of Luke’s history is occupied by one such story: *Paul’s turbulent sea voyage to the capital of the empire*
We do not know for sure why Luke devotes so much space to Paul’s journey to Rome, but throughout the narrative we cannot miss Paul’s calm confidence in God’s protection and his leadership, which shines out at times of crisis. In a way Luke’s portrayal of Paul resembles Jesus who without losing composure commands the storms to be stilled and thereby saves his disciples.
LITERARY CONVENTIONS AND HISTORICAL TRUTH
A comparison of this narrative with other Creco Roman travel stories shows ample use of classical motifs typically associated with sea voyage, storm and shipwreck. These were regular elements of the popular instances of the Hellenistic period, From this observation, some scholars jump to the conclusion that the story of Paul’s sea voyage is thus unhistorical But reading Luke’s narrative we feel that there is nothing in the story that is inherently improbable on the contrary, the popularity of the literary convention indicate the frequency of such experiences.
We can believe that he recounts the story as it really happened. But we can also acknowledge the use of literary conventions and techniques of the day in telling his story
FAITH THAT WORKS:
Throughout the narrative, Luke depicts saint of prophetic figure He received God’s prophecies and saw them fulfilled. God appeared to him to give him assurance, and he in turn gave advice and assurance to others. There were many life threatening dangers, but God’s will triumphed, the will that Paul must stand before the emperor to witness.
Paul did not exercise supernatural power to control the storms as Jesus had done in the Gospels but his calm and confident demeanor evokes the image of Jesus in the Galilean boats (Luke 5, 22-25). Here we see what faith in God can do in difficult situations. In Paul’s case, it proved more effective by being combined with his ample experience.
Paul steered through the dire situation by putting his experience to wise use while firmly believing in God’s assurance Sure God often performs miracles save those who believe, but that is not the only way for our faith to work. It can show its power all the more strikingly as we are going through the tempests of life in confident endurance. He believed in God, and did whatever he could to overcome the hurdles and carry out God’s will for him.