Reading Luke and Acts in 2020
Week 51 | Acts 27
Acts 27 Reflections and Questions
By Rev. Dr. Yvette Massey
The life experiences of the Apostle Paul never cease to amaze. From his pedigree as a Jew, his zeal for God and dedication of faith, to his Damascus Road conversion and his midnight praise party, a miracle was always in the making and the experience recorded in Acts 27 is no different.
Reading this text and observing the behavior of Paul, the prisoners, and the sailors, I couldn't help but think about a team building experience, “Lost at Sea.” In this simulation the boat has become badly damaged and about to sink. The passengers must decide from a list of 15, the most important things to take with them as they abandon the sinking ship. After everyone identifies five things, they then must determine with their shipmates the collective five things will go with them into the lifeboat. At the conclusion of the simulation the facilitator identifies the most important things and based on what was chosen the fate of the passengers is either deliverance or demise, so it was important to choose the right thing.
In our text, Paul and his companions were lost at sea and this was no simulations. They had to make decisions to save their lives. They unloaded the cargo, then the tackle, then the lifeboat, and the wheat. But Paul chose the very thing that would save not only his life but that also of his shipmates. During the storm Paul chose faith in God. In verse 25 he says, “I believe God.” Can you imagine that? During the chaos of wind and waves, on a battered and torn ship, each moment threatening a grave in the angry sea -- Paul believes God’s message of safety. An Angel of God, whispering those tender words, “Do not be afraid,” and assures Paul that no life will be lost and that they all would be saved.
What’s interesting is that Salvation does not come by the calming of the sea or the ceasing of the storm. As we continue to read the text we realize that not only must Paul and his companions ride out the storm, but their survival is secured by the ship running aground. This is powerful imagery because it reminds us that although the one who controls the winds, and the waves can calm the storm, deliverance is not always about getting out of or away from, but it sometimes comes through riding it out and running aground. As we look with great hope an expectation to the end of 2020 and beyond; reflecting on the storms of the past nine months, this text helps us embrace the blessing in riding it out and even running aground, and in times like these, equips us to stand up amid our companions and say as Paul said, I believe God!
Rev. Dr. Yvette Massey is Associate Director of the North Georgia Conference Center for Congregational Excellence.
- Thursday read 27:1-12. Reflect on a time when you began something against better judgment. What lead you to make this choice? What was the result?
- Friday and Saturday read 27:13-38. Reflecting on your life, what is God asking you to ride out? Where and how is God showing up? What is the message of assurance? Do you believe God?
- Sunday and Monday read 27:39-44. Although the ship ran aground, no life was lost. Where is God offering you a safe place to land? How is your witness giving life to others?
- Tuesday Give God thanks and praise!