Acts 27:41-44
Acts 27:41 (KJB)
And falling into a place where two seas met, they ran the ship aground; and the forepart stuck fast, and remained unmoveable, but the hinder part was broken with the violence of the waves.
Even using the best of their skills, it was not good enough. Since they were in uncharted waters, they did not know what to expect but hoping for the best conditions. There is a small island called Salmoneta close to the entrance of the bay. The rush of the breakers on both sides of the island gives the impression that there are two seas meeting in the place. The water must have been very shallow because as they approached the bay, the bow of the ship got caught in mud and clay and became stuck. Then the stern of the ship started breaking up because of the pounding of the waves and this meant that everyone would have to leave the ship immediately. God had promised them that there would be no loss of life, not even a scratch on them. I wonder how many were wondering about that promise as the ship began to disintegrate. How many times do we Christians question the promises of God when it seems our situations go against the revealed promises of God? I am sure many times but when the situation is all over, we look back and see how God brought us through those times.
Acts 27:42 (KJB)
And the soldiers' counsel was to kill the prisoners, lest any of them should swim out, and escape.
As the ship started to break up, the soldiers had conferred with each other that they should kill all the prisoners because if any of them escape, then the soldiers who were guarding them would have to take their punishment, so the best way to prevent that was to kill all the prisoners so none would escape. I am sure that escape may have been on the minds of some but after that ordeal of a fourteen day storm, they too probably wanted to get to land and be safe for the time being.
Acts 27:43 (KJB)
But the centurion, willing to save Paul, kept them from their purpose; and commanded that they which could swim should cast themselves first into the sea, and get to land:
The centurion now exercises his authority by stopping the soldiers from killing their prisoners. The soldiers probably had gathered all of them together and were ready to kill them when the centurion ordered them to halt. Julius had continued to show kindness to Paul all the while he was in charge of him. The centurion then commanded everyone who could swim to jump overboard and to swim to land. If one was a good swimmer, then it would be no problem for them to make it. Julius had saved Paul from the death by soldiers, maybe because he appreciated the way Paul handled himself in rough times and the encouragement he brought to an otherwise dire situation.
Acts 27:44 (KJB)
And the rest, some on boards, and some on broken pieces of the ship. And so it came to pass, that they escaped all safe to land.
Those who could not swim were able to attach themselves to floating wood and other pieces of the floating ship so that everyone on board the ship was able to make it safely to land. So the exact message that Paul received from God was thus proven true to the other 275 people on board the ship. There would be no loss of life but only loss of the ship. After that fourteen day ordeal, they were all thankful to be alive and on land once again.