Friday, May 29, 2015

Everyone is Saved

Now when it was day, they did not recognize the land, but they noticed a bay with a beach, on which they planned if possible to run the ship ashore. 40 So they cast off the anchors and left them in the sea, at the same time loosening the ropes that tied the rudders. Then hoisting the foresail to the wind they made for the beach. 41 But striking a reef, [7] they ran the vessel aground. The bow stuck and remained immovable, and the stern was being broken up by the surf. 42 The soldiers' plan was to kill the prisoners, lest any should swim away and escape. 43 But the centurion, wishing to save Paul, kept them from carrying out their plan. He ordered those who could swim to jump overboard first and make for the land, 44 and the rest on planks or on pieces of the ship. And so it was that all were brought safely to land. (Acts 27:39-44 (ESV)
Everything goes according to plan, just as Paul said it would.
They don’t recognize the land. Today we know that this island is the Island of Malta. The name today conjures intrigue, romance, and adventure. The island is famous for being the last stand against Suleiman where the Knight’s Hospitalers, formerly known as the Knights of Rhodes, held out and defeated the Turkish Army bent on taking Western Europe. Now they are known as the Knights of Malta, an order of Crusaders still in existence though now known for the work they originally set out about, that of charity. Perhaps it is because of translating Giertz’s book “The Knights of Rhodes” but I have more affinity for these guys than the Knights Templar. That and I don’t have much patience for Masonic tomfoolery.
I regret having never visited the island of Malta, or Rhodes for that matter. Someday I will manage a Mediteranean Cruise. Perhaps, now I would appreciate it more than I would have even as a younger man. This bay is a place I would like to visit. The Maltese would convert on account of this shipwreck and are staunch Christians to this day. Arabic in origin, or Phoenician on any account, they worship Allah, by whom they mean the Triune God made manifest in Jesus Christ.

The Centurion saves Paul, and thus all the prisoners from the soldiers wanting to kill him and the rest of the prisoners, lest any should escape. The Centurion knows how indebted they are to Paul. How indebted to Paul he is. And thus everyone is saved. 

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