Read Acts 27
Focus on verse 42-43
I remember learning the rules of music theory when I was in college. What I found interesting was that many of the the great master composers often broke the rules when they wrote music. In composition class we then learned that there were acceptable and at times even preferred ways of breaking the rules of music theory in order to make our compositions more interesting,
Apparently there are other areas of life where there are exceptions to the rules. English grammar is just one of them. For instance “i” apparently always comes before “e” , except after “c”, however, even that exception has some exceptions.
In today’s reading Luke records a shipwreck on the Mediterranean Sea. There were 276 people on board (v. 37). These included the crew, a cohort of Roman soldiers transporting a group of prisoners, and some other passengers. One of the prisoners was the Apostle Paul. They were headed to Rome, but the ship did not make it. They were driven by a storm to the island of Malta where the ship got stuck on a reef and was destroyed. Apparently the common practice of Roman soldiers in such a situation was for the prisoners to be killed to prevent them from escaping. In this case the centurion makes an exception choosing to spare the prisoners because he favored Paul.
The soldiers’ plan was to kill the prisoners, lest any should swim away and escape. But the centurion, wishing to save Paul, kept them from carrying out their plan.(v. 42-43)
This was God’s way of keeping Paul alive to see to it that he made it to Rome to present the gospel to the emperor, not to mention everyone he met along the way.
As I contemplate this, it seems to me that while God is big on rules – aka the Ten Commandments and such – He is not beyond making some exceptions to the rules. We might call that his mercy, which He offers to those who choose to accept the forgiveness He offers through the atonement made by Jesus when He offered His life in our place. That’s a pretty big exception to the rule that says “the wages of sin is death”. Every one of us deserves that penalty, yet every one of us also has the option to choose the exception available through a relationship with Jesus Christ.