The Romans had come in and taken over Israel and the Jews had to obey Roman laws. After Jesus was killed and rose again the eleven disciples who were left began preaching about Him. It made the Hebrew priests mad. They were afraid that the disciples would stir up trouble and cause problems with the Romans.
Then, along came a man named Saul who chased the Christians and had them jailed and sometimes killed. He was terrible! Then one day God hit Saul with a blinding light, he fell off his horse and heard God scolding him for tormenting the Christians. Saul believed God and changed his ways and started preaching about Jesus himself. His name was changed to Paul.
After preaching for several years, Paul got arrested for being a Christian. But nobody could punish him without permission from the great Caesar because he was a Roman Citizen. They put him in handcuffs and sent him on a ship with some other prisoners across the Mediterranean Sea to Rome. Paul’s friend, a doctor named Luke, went with him.
The ship stopped at Sidon, a city on the coast of Palestine, and then went on westward past the Isle of Cyprus and stopped. The winds were not blowing in the direction of Rome so they got to the Isle of Crete and found a place called Fair Havens.
It was getting late in the year toward the stormy season. Paul told the Captain that they had better stay there because he had been warned by God that it was dangerous to go back out to sea. But the ship’s master said that he was an experienced sailor and he was sure they would be fine. So, they took off again. And “the southwind blew softly.” They believed all was fine.
Suddenly the wind changed! It howled and blew the ship off course and swamped the boat with water! The sailors took down the sails and tied everything down on the ship. It didn’t help. The ship was thrown all over and tossed every direction.
The next day they started throwing everything overboard. The sailors and the prisoners hung on the best they could. They were still in big trouble. They were afraid they would drown.
For days there was no letup in the storm. It was wild and dark and terrible! Paul said, “I told you we should have stayed at Fair Havens, but an angel came to me and told me that we are going to make it anyway! We are going to land on an island.”
It was fourteen days they fought that storm. In the dark of one night they realized that there was land someplace near. Finally it looked like the ship was going to break apart so they tried to get on a lifeboat. Paul said, “Stay on board if you want to be saved!” So they did.
Finally they cut the ropes of the anchors and let the wind and ocean currents drive the ship into a little creek. The ship rammed aground and the back of it began to break up. Some of the men yelled, “The prisoners will escape! We have to kill them.” but the Captain stopped them. He told everybody to jump overboard and hang onto broken pieces of the ship.
They did. They found themselves on an island. Friendly natives built a fire and helped them get warm and dry out of the cold rain.
They were saved because Paul believed God!
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