The text for this lesson is Acts 27:1–44.
- As Christ was with Paul and His companions, so He is with me, holding me up, keeping me with Him in the ship of the Church, and casting all my sins into the depths of the sea.
- Law: In sinful despair, I let the pains of the present overtake me and no longer believe in God or trust His redemption or love.
- Gospel: Christ, the same yesterday, today, and forever, rides out the storms of life with me, granting me hope in my future redemption.
Arrested in Jerusalem on trumped-up charges (Acts 21:1–40) and jailed for more than two years in Caesarea (Acts 24:27), Paul is finally on his way to Rome, for he had appealed to Caesar (Acts 25:11), the “supreme court” of the empire. As this story makes clear, sea travel in ancient times could be quite treacherous, especially as winter approached (Acts 27:9–12). After the shipwreck at Malta, where Paul and the crew wintered (Acts 28:11), the apostle finally arrived in Rome, where Acts ends with the account of Paul’s incessant preaching of the Gospel to the Jews and all who would lend him an ear.
Discussion Points and Questions
- Revisit Acts 27:1–8 again. Paul is on his way to Rome to be tried. He faces severe punishment if he is found guilty. Yet, there is no sign of mourning or fear. In fact, Paul befriends his captors. What kind of trust must Julius have in Paul to allow him to go see his friends before he leaves?
- In Acts 27:10, Paul warns the crew that if they continue on their course, there will be a loss of ship, cargo, and life. Does this come to pass? Read verses Acts 27:21–23. How does God show Paul that he was wrong? Which of the three objects—ship, cargo, or people—will God save? What might this show us that God values most?
- In Acts 27:24, an angel of God delivers a marvelous promise to Paul. The angel says, “‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar. And behold, God has granted you all those who sail with you.” What does the angel mean when he tells Paul that God has granted all those who he sails with to Paul?
- Read Acts 27:31–32. In the beginning of the journey, Paul warned the guards, but they did not listen. Now do the soldiers listen to Paul? Is this act of obedience a sign of faith?
- In verse Acts 27:34, Paul promises that God will not allow a single hair to perish from their heads. Yet God has not acted directly in any miraculous way to save the crew of the ship. Reflect for a minute upon the simple, normal ways in which God directs the ship. How might this challenge us in our own lives to reflect upon the way that God works?
- Food is so very important. It nourishes us, gives us strength, and helps us to do our daily work. Paul offers bread to everyone on the ship. They hadn’t eaten in two weeks. How does God feed us? In what ways can we find a comparison between Paul’s feeding of the 276 on the ship and Jesus’ feeding us through the Lord’s Supper? In what ways do they differ?
- Study Acts 27:39–42. No matter what the sailors do, there is no winning in this situation. They are in trouble. During this time, the soldiers despair. What is their plan? How does their plan compare to God’s plan in Acts 27:34?
- Read Acts 27:43–44. Why does the centurion seek to save Paul? How does the centurion become an unwitting partner in God’s plan to save everyone on board the ship?
For next week, read Revelation 21:1—22:21, John’s vision of Heaven. What details John provides about heaven match your own picture of heaven? What aspects of John’s vision differ from your view of heaven? Reflect upon John’s understanding of the identity of those who enter heaven. How does it differ from those who are now allowed into heaven?