One for all

OPENING PRAYER

Jesus, give me a heart after Your own heart that the world may see You in me.

 

Read: ACTS 27:27-44

[27] On the fourteenth night we were still being driven across the Adriatic Sea, when about midnight the sailors sensed they were approaching land. [28] They took soundings and found that the water was a hundred and twenty feet deep. A short time later they took soundings again and found it was ninety feet deep. [29] Fearing that we would be dashed against the rocks, they dropped four anchors from the stern and prayed for daylight. [30] In an attempt to escape from the ship, the sailors let the lifeboat down into the sea, pretending they were going to lower some anchors from the bow. [31] Then Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, “Unless these men stay with the ship, you cannot be saved.” [32] So the soldiers cut the ropes that held the lifeboat and let it drift away. [33] Just 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. [34] Now I urge you to take some food. You need it to survive. Not one of you will lose a single hair from his head.” [35] After 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. [36] They were all encouraged and ate some food themselves. [37] Altogether there were 276 of us on board. [38] When they had eaten as much as they wanted, they lightened the ship by throwing the grain into the sea. [39] When daylight came, they did not recognize the land, but they saw a bay with a sandy beach, where they decided to run the ship aground if they could. [40] Cutting loose the anchors, they left them in the sea and at the same time untied the ropes that held the rudders. Then they hoisted the foresail to the wind and made for the beach. [41] But the ship struck a sandbar and ran aground. The bow stuck fast and would not move, and the stern was broken to pieces by the pounding of the surf. [42] The soldiers planned to kill the prisoners to prevent any of them from swimming away and escaping. [43] But the centurion wanted to spare Paul’s life and kept them from carrying out their plan. He ordered those who could swim to jump overboard first and get to land. [44] The rest were to get there on planks or on other pieces of the ship. In this way everyone reached land safely. 

 

Reflect: WHAT DO YOU FIND MOST INTERESTING ABOUT THIS PASSAGE?

This passage contains a number of descriptive details about the ordeal the 276 people on board were going through, which commentaries suggest are an accurate reflection of such an event in those times. The passage also contains two foiled plots–one by the sailors (30-32) and one by the soldiers (42,43)–and again the centurion’s actions are remarkable. However, once more it is Paul who is the stand-out character. He’s a prisoner; on board are the centurion, a pilot and the ship’s owner (27:11); and yet it’s Paul’s words that the centurion listens to regarding the first plot (31). Further, his actions in verses 33 to 37 show concern for everyone; if they’d been unable to eat much because of the weather conditions for a fortnight, then they’d need some food to help them survive the shipwreck itself. In the midst of this extreme situation, Paul’s authority dominates the circumstances. His practical advice on both counts is aimed at saving lives, and his ability to stay calm again indicates the faith in God which he’s already declared (25)–faith that they will all be saved, faith that can give thanks, faith that God is in control. 

 

APPLY

Act as those who listened to God’s word through Paul, and then you can expect God’s word to be fulfilled in you.

 

CLOSING PRAYER

Father, help me to move with You, not on my own.

 

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