Thursday, July 12, 2012

Acts 27 – Paul is Shipwrecked

(read Acts 27)

Acts 27:21-26 (ESV)
21 Since they had been without food for a long time, Paul stood up among them and said, “Men, you should have listened to me and not have set sail from Crete and incurred this injury and loss. 22 Yet now I urge you to take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. 23 For this very night there stood before me an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I worship, 24 and he said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar. And behold, God has granted you all those who sail with you.’ 25 So take heart, men, for I have faith in God that it will be exactly as I have been told. 26 But we must run aground on some island.”

The last chapters of Acts deal principally with the will of God in Paul's life and mission in contrast to all other authorities in his life.

In Acts 27, the second last chapter of Luke's two-part epic, Paul sails as a prisoner of Rome toward Rome to be brought before Caesar. Luke, the author, accompanies him.

Paul has been the target of violent and corrupt religious and political authorities for most of the second half of the book of Acts. In every case, the attempts of the authorities of empire or the church to stop the spread of the message of Jesus have always turned in the favour of the Kingdom ambassadors. In this chapter, a significant storm threatens the ship and its passengers. Paul's faith and mission are contrasted with the power of his captors. While the agents of empire fear the worst, Paul speaks confidently of God's will in his life, knowing that whatever the consequences to the ship, they will not lose their lives.

Paul believes God has sent him to speak to Caesar. In the natural he appears to be a prisoner of Rome and subject to the empire's whims. In the Kingdom of God, Paul is subject only to God's will. If God has sent him to Caesar, to Caesar he will go. He'll get there not because Caesar has summoned him or Rome wills it, but by the power and authority of the only Kingdom, through and despite all obstacles.

This is the freedom of Kingdom citizens. No matter what the powers of the corrupt empires of this present age may do, in the end it is the mark of God on the children of God that calls them free. All will stand equally vulnerable before the final judge. We may pretend and play dress-up that one human being has more power or influence over another, but as this storm shows everyone on boar from criminal to governor, in the face of our own mortality, all are equal.

In the light of eternity, all are God's creation. God is not far from any one of us. In him we live and move and have our being. Kings beware.


v24 – It was God’s will that Paul stand before Caesar.
vv31-32 – They’re listening to him now.

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