Summary: Jesus didn’t promise us a life without pain and suffering. In fact, it was just the opposite. He told his followers that they shouldn’t expect to get along in this world any better than He did.
Title: Finding a Place of Safety
Text: “And the soldiers’ plan was to kill the prisoners, lest any of them should swim away and escape. But the centurion, wanting to save Paul, kept them from their purpose, and commanded that those who could swim should jump overboard first and get to land, and the rest, some on boards and some on parts of the ship. And so it was that they all escaped safely to land.” (Acts 27:42-44)
Bible Reading: Acts 27:33-44
33 And as day was about to dawn, Paul implored them all to take food, saying, “Today is the fourteenth day you have waited and continued without food, and eaten nothing.
34 Therefore I urge you to take nourishment, for this is for your survival, since not a hair will fall from the head of any of you.”
35 And when he had said these things, he took bread and gave thanks to God in the presence of them all; and when he had broken it he began to eat.
36 Then they were all encouraged, and also took food themselves.
37 And in all we were two hundred and seventy-six persons on the ship.
38 So when they had eaten enough, they lightened the ship and threw out the wheat into the sea.
39 When it was day, they did not recognize the land; but they observed a bay with a beach, onto which they planned to run the ship if possible.
40 And they let go the anchors and left them in the sea, meanwhile loosing the rudder ropes; and they hoisted the mainsail to the wind and made for shore.
41 But striking a place where two seas met, they ran the ship aground; and the prow stuck fast and remained immovable, but the stern was being broken up by the violence of the waves.
42 And the soldiers’ plan was to kill the prisoners, lest any of them should swim away and escape.
43 But the centurion, wanting to save Paul, kept them from their purpose, and commanded that those who could swim should jump overboard first and get to land,
44 and the rest, some on boards and some on parts of the ship. And so it was that they all escaped safely to land.
This experience that Paul had, while on his way to Rome, may cause us to see one of the great truths about Christian living. It is that Christians may have to suffer. Jesus didn’t promise us a life without pain and suffering. In fact, it was just the opposite. He told his followers that they shouldn’t expect to get along in this world any better than He did. We can expect the enemies of Jesus to also be our enemies. And since the servant is not better than his master, we may someday receive the same treatment that Jesus did.
There is something good that comes out of suffering for Jesus. Paul talked about that; and he certainly suffered a lot. In several of his epistles, he listed those things he had to endure for Christ. It’s amazing that he could go through all that and still continue to be a faithful, enthusiastic servant of the Lord.
Some say that the high point of Paul’s ministry was his hearing before King Agrippa. It was a fulfillment of the prophesy, which said that he should appear before kings and rulers. I believe that it was God’s will that he was brought before King Agrippa. If you were there, you would have been part of a large crowd of 200 or more. These were the elite of the city, dignitaries and officials from the Jews as well as the Romans. They were probably decked out in the best dress of that time. When Paul was brought into the room, they all looked him over and made comments to those around them. I would think that Paul looked them over too.
This was not a trial, since Paul had already made it known that he was a Roman citizen, and demanded a trial before Caesar. His fate was out of Agrippa’s hands, because Paul now had to be tried before the Roman Emperor. But Agrippa had heard of the Christians, and he wanted to know more about them, and he wanted to hear from an expert; that would be Paul. So Paul is there, not to defend himself, but to preach the Gospel to this great king. He was probably in chains and wearing the prison garb of that time.
Paul began with a very courteous introduction, telling King Agrippa how he rejoices in this opportunity. Then he proceeds to give Agrippa a brief sketch of is youth and background. Then he tells of his conversion. And finally he attempts to reach the man for Christ. He presented the Gospel to this man-and to the entire crowd who were present in that place. He said, “That Christ should suffer, and that He should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should show light unto the people and to the Gentiles.”