Thursday, December 20, 2007

Acts, Chapter 27

Sometimes the easiest time to have faith is when a situation looks hopeless. When you have reached the end of yourself and there is no way that you can change the situation it is sometimes easy to simply through your hands in the air and trust God. Literally, there are no other options but to have faith because in those cases we are powerless to fix things ourselves. That is the situation Paul and those on board his ship to Rome found themselves in such a situation facing a brutal storm. Paul, however never lost faith even though many on the ship with him had no faith that they would be saved. Chapter 27 is yet another example of God delivering on His promises.

21After the men had gone a long time without food, Paul stood up before them and said: "Men, you should have taken my advice not to sail from Crete; then you would have spared yourselves this damage and loss. 22But now I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed. 23Last night an angel of the God whose I am and whom I serve stood beside me 24and said, 'Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar; and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.' 25So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me. – Acts 27:21-25

If you have read this blog for long you know that I am a fan of drawing parallels from elsewhere in Scripture. This reminds me of Mark 4:35-41 and Matthew 8:23-27. Obviously here Paul does not have the power to calm the storm as Jesus, did, but he has the confidence and faith that they will be delivered. He is also perfectly calm in this situation as Jesus was because of his faith. It is another opportunity where Paul could have taken the glory to himself, but instead He deflects the glory to God, just as Jesus did.

So what can we take from this? Obviously it is a lesson in faith, but is there something else that can be taken from it? Well, Paul uses it as another lesson in the gospel, as he was able to preach the Word even to those who were holding him captive. It must have taken a ton of strength and motivation to preach the word at every single opportunity given. Here was a man that simply lived for the sole purpose of spreading the Word of Christ.

33Just before dawn Paul urged them all to eat. "For the last fourteen days," he said, "you have been in constant suspense and have gone without food—you haven't eaten anything. 34Now I urge you to take some food. You need it to survive. Not one of you will lose a single hair from his head." 35After he said this, he took some bread and gave thanks to God in front of them all. Then he broke it and began to eat. – Acts 27:33-35

This is merely faith continued, as the first passage came early in the storm, but this passage comes after it had been raging for 14 days. Imagine yourself in this situation, as it had not abated in two weeks, yet Paul was still encouraging them to have faith. It was probably easy to believe him in the beginning, but after suffering through any ordeal for two weeks one has to wonder if it ever will end. Not only that, they had not eaten in two weeks. Personally, if I miss one regular meal I tend to get irritable, so I can only imagine how these men were feeling. Now Paul was not only encouraging them, but he was asking them to do the opposite of what they wanted to do by staying with the ship. Once again God delivers on his promises as the ship was wrecked on a sandbar, but everyone was able to make it ashore safely. God delivered them even in their lack of faith because of Paul's promise. We can learn from this because it shows that God delivers even in impossible situations.


  1. How was the centurion swayed by Paul's faith?
  2. Why was important for everyone on the ship to stand trial before Caesar?
  3. What other parallels can you draw from the passages in mark and Matthew?

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