And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. Luke 24.27
The video for lesson 22 concludes our series. You can view it by clicking here (scroll down to Lesson 22).
Read and mediate on Acts 27.1-12.
This passage is vintage Luke, chock full of historical and geographical details and hints of things to come. If we could hear background music for the outset of this voyage to Rome, it would be light and hopeful to begin with, as Paul and his companions are treated kindly and he is able to visit with some friends.
1. Everything is looking promising, except for an ominous note, set in a minor key with a kind of low rumbling, which begins to build. Luke notes that “the winds were contrary” as they set off (v. 4). Right. We haven’t seen anything yet. Can you see why it was important for Luke to establish the sovereignty of Jesus over this whole process? Explain.
2. They “sailed slowly” “and arrived with difficulty” because the wind was “not permitting” them to make good headway (v. 7). Are we getting it? This is going to get worse before it gets better. The voyage was becoming “dangerous” (v. 9), and Paul decided to weigh in on the wisdom of continuing (v. 10). Do Christians need to sit silently by while unbelieving society heads off into stormy waters? How can we, like Paul, make our concerns known?
3. It’s late in the season, and the weather’s only going to get worse. Paul’s concern here is not merely for himself. He’s looking out for the whole “society” of people on this journey, seeking their shalom and safety (cf. Jer. 29.7). He doesn’t preach here or pound a pulpit. He simply injects his opinion and advice in a way that others can understand and consider. This vessel had become Paul’s Personal Mission Field for the time, and he was determined to do his best to try and keep it within the bounds of God’s gracious provision and protection. Do we have a similar responsibility?
4. The centurion’s decision to press on is reasonable (v. 11), given that the helmsman and owner of the ship were confident they could make it to Crete, and thus complete an important leg of the journey. But what may be reasonable is not always wise. What’s the difference?
5. We will see the Apostle Paul play an important role in these final two chapters of Acts. He will provide us with an excellent example about the role of faith and the believing community amid an age of reasonable but unwise people, who are destroying themselves because they refuse to heed the voice of the Lord. Lesson 1: Don’t be afraid to speak up on matters of importance, when the chosen course seems unwise and likely not to be for the benefit of the society as a whole. And when you do, make sure your words are carefully chosen in order to gain a fair hearing.Are there any matters concerning which you ought to be speaking up today? How might you do that?
Paul begins the final leg of his journey to Rome, and it’s clear this is going to be an even rockier road than he’s traveled thus far. But Paul has the promise of Christ to sustain him, even when it looks like everything is coming apart. How should we lay hold on Christ’s promises amid the storms and stupidity of our own day?
Help, LORD, for the godly man ceases!
For the faithful disappear from among the sons of men.
They speak idly everyone with his neighbor;
With flattering lips and a double heart they speak.
May the LORD cut off all flattering lips,
And the tongue that speaks proud things,
Who have said,
“With our tongue we will prevail;
Our lips are our own;
Who is lord over us?”
“For the oppression of the poor, for the sighing of the needy,
Now I will arise,” says the LORD;
“I will set him in the safety for which he yearns.”
The words of the LORDare pure words,
Like silver tried in a furnace of earth,
Purified seven times.
You shall keep them, O LORD,
You shall preserve them from this generation forever.
Psalm 12. 1-7
T. M. Moore
Each week’s studies in Acts are bound together into a free PDF that you can download for personal or group use (click here). Each week also features a video related to the studies of the week, which you may find helpful as you work through our studies in Acts.
Acts is the record of Christ’s ongoing work as King and Lord. This is the work of bringing the Kingdom of God to earth as it is in heaven. Read more about the implications of this work in our new book, The Kingdom Turn (click here).
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