now when the south wind blew gently, supposing that they had obtained their purpose, they weighed anchor and sailed along crete, close to the shore. but soon a tempestuous wind, called the northeaster, struck down from the land. and when the ship was caught and could not face the wind, we gave way to it and were driven along. running under the lee of a small island called cauda, we managed with difficulty to secure the ship’s boat. after hoisting it up, they used supports to undergird the ship. then, fearing that they would run aground on the syrtis, they lowered the gear, and thus they were driven along. since we were violently storm-tossed, they began the next day to jettison the cargo. [acts 27:13-18]
why do you think the bible includes details like this? God could have different reasons in different places, but a simple one is this: because these things really happened. scriptures like this serve as a reminder that the bible is not just a story, but is also a completely dependable source of truth. this text shows us that this account is written as eyewitness testimony; somebody on the ship wrote this.
here’s another oddly specific description in the bible. in the gospel according to matthew, he describes Jesus’ final moments like this: and Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit. (mt. 27:50) that word translated “cried out with a loud voice” is more literally translated “shrieked.” Jesus Christ loves us so much that he willingly bore the fullness of the wrath of the Father for our sins, and we see the horror of the experience Jesus took on for us in that eyewitness account that tells us that he shrieked. nobody trying to make this up would ever have the hero of the story shriek in pain and horror in his final moments, because it makes him look weak; this must have happened, because only eyewitness testimony would lead someone to write such a fact about our Lord and Savior.
what are you going to do about this fact? the fact that the one who upholds the universe by the strength of his power (heb. 1:3) became weak enough to shriek under the punishment you deserved? for me, i will worship, and i will obey, wherever he sends me. Lord, thank you for holding back nothing to save us! use me as you will, for your glory!
~ stephen