Week of July 29 - Day 2

Day 2 Read: Acts 27:27-44

When the fourteenth night had come, as we were being driven across the Adriatic Sea, about midnight the sailors suspected that they were nearing land. 28 So they took a sounding and found twenty fathoms. A little farther on they took a sounding again and found fifteen fathoms. 29 And fearing that we might run on the rocks, they let down four anchors from the stern and prayed for day to come. 30 And as the sailors were seeking to escape from the ship, and had lowered the ship's boat into the sea under pretense of laying out anchors from the bow, 31 Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, “Unless these men stay in the ship, you cannot be saved.” 32 Then the soldiers cut away the ropes of the ship's boat and let it go. 33 As day was about to dawn, Paul urged them all to take some food, saying, “Today is the fourteenth day that you have continued in suspense and without food, having taken nothing. 34 Therefore I urge you to take some food. For it will give you strength, for not a hair is to perish from the head of any of you.” 35 And when he had said these things, he took bread, and giving thanks to God in the presence of all he broke it and began to eat. 36 Then they all were encouraged and ate some food themselves. 37 (We were in all 276 persons in the ship.)38 And when they had eaten enough, they lightened the ship, throwing out the wheat into the sea. 39 Now when it was day, they did not recognize the land, but they noticed a bay with a beach, on which they planned if possible to run the ship ashore. 40 So they cast off the anchors and left them in the sea, at the same time loosening the ropes that tied the rudders. Then hoisting the foresail to the wind they made for the beach. 41 But striking a reef, they ran the vessel aground. The bow stuck and remained immovable, and the stern was being broken up by the surf. 42 The soldiers' plan was to kill the prisoners, lest any should swim away and escape. 43 But the centurion, wishing to save Paul, kept them from carrying out their plan. He ordered those who could swim to jump overboard first and make for the land, 44 and the rest on planks or on pieces of the ship. And so it was that all were brought safely to land.

Reflect: Compare verse 31 with verse 11. How did the centurion’s feelings about Paul change? About the God Paul served?

Consider: In short, the eucharistic language of the meal on the ship may not be so much an indication that they celebrated the Lord’s Supper there as that Paul and the other Christians were reminded of how Jesus broke bread with his disciples and continues to do so, continues to be present in the lives of his people. The meal thus had a meaning for them it could not have had for the pagans—their Lord continued to be present with them. He was present in that time of particular need. For them the meal was more than needed sustenance—it reassured them of their Lord’s presence to deliver them.[1]

Respond: How did Paul’s words and his example serve to encourage the others? How have you been encouraged by other people’s trust in God’s promises while facing difficulties? What are some ways you can encourage people around you who face difficult times?

 

[1]  John B. Polhill, Acts, vol. 26, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1992), 527–528.