The Personal Cost of Spreading the Gospel: Acts 27:1-8
“1) When it was decided that we would sail for Italy, they proceeded to deliver Paul and some other prisoners to a centurion of the Augustan cohort named Julius. 2) And embarking in an Adramyttian ship, which was about to sail to the regions along the coast of Asia, we put out to sea accompanied by Aristarchus, a Macedonian of Thessalonica. 3) The next day we put in at Sidon; and Julius treated Paul with consideration and allowed him to go to his friends and receive care. 4) From there we put out to sea and sailed under the shelter of Cyprus because the winds were contrary. 5) When we had sailed through the sea along the coast of Cilicia and Pamphylia, we landed at Myra in Lycia. 6) There the centurion found an Alexandrian ship sailing for Italy, and he put us aboard it. 7) When we had sailed slowly for a good many days, and with difficulty had arrived off Cnidus, since the wind did not permit us to go farther, we sailed under the shelter of Crete, off Salmone; 8) and with difficulty sailing past it we came to a place called Fair Havens, near which was the city of Lasea.” Acts‬ ‭27‬:‭1‬-‭8‬
These verses read more like a geography book. It proves that people in all places are important to God. Paul was willing to go any place for the sake of the gospel. No matter where you live, God sees you and cares for you. It is impossible to hide from God or his love.
These verses also show how difficult travel was in the days of the New Testament. Paul was willing to endure much suffering and personal hardship for the sake of the gospel. It shows the high value he placed on people by his willingness to suffer much personal inconvenience for the spread of the gospel. Read and compare Acts 9:16 with 2 Corinthians 11:22-33.
The fact that the Roman centurion was willing to let Paul have some freedom and be ministered to by his friends, shows the favor and respect he had gained. He was having a far greater impact among the Roman soldiers and Gentiles that among the Jewish population. It is self evident that he had become the apostle to the Gentiles.
I wonder what would happen today if Christians put an equal importance on people and the spread of the gospel. When I hear stories of how Christians in Third World countries suffer for the sake of the gospel it puts me to shame. We complain if we need to drive several hours for the gospel, they rejoice when they daily walk several hours for the gospel. The early frontier preachers in the Methodist tradition contributed more to the Great awakening off horse back than modern preachers with cars and airplanes.
There is always a personal cost pay to make Christ known. Paul is an example of what it means to lay up treasures in heaven. May each of us be willing to follow his example and the example of the early Christian believers.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global