Who is your favorite superhero and why?
Regardless of what power they hold that makes them a superhero, all have this in common: they shine bright in the darkest of circumstances.
In reading through the book of Acts, and even in reading some of his letters, few people could fault us for thinking that the Apostle Paul was a type of superhero. All superheroes shine in the darkest of circumstances, and Paul (in this story) is no exception.
But when we take a closer look, Paul is the anti-type of the superhero.
In the comics and movies, the superhero draws on her superior power, her superior ability, her superior strength and her superior knowledge, whereas Paul shines for no inherent reason—unless what he says about God is true. Paul’s strength lies outside of himself.
Paul is a humble hero. I’d like to show you what that means and what that looks like from the text in Acts 27, and in doing so, I think we will be inspired, too.
9 By now much time had passed, and the voyage was already dangerous. Since the Day of Atonement was already over, Paul gave his advice and told them, 10 “Men, I can see that this voyage is headed toward disaster and heavy loss, not only of the cargo and the ship but also of our lives.” 11 But the centurion paid attention to the captain and the owner of the ship rather than to what Paul said. 12 Since the harbor was unsuitable to winter in, the majority decided to set sail from there, hoping somehow to reach Phoenix, a harbor on Crete facing the southwest and northwest, and to winter there.
13 When a gentle south wind sprang up, they thought they had achieved their purpose. They weighed anchor and sailed along the shore of Crete. 14 But before long, a fierce wind called the “northeaster” rushed down from the island. 15 Since the ship was caught and unable to head into the wind, we gave way to it and were driven along. 16 After running under the shelter of a little island called Cauda, we were barely able to get control of the skiff. 17 After hoisting it up, they used ropes and tackle and girded the ship. Fearing they would run aground on the Syrtis, they lowered the drift-anchor, and in this way they were driven along. 18 Because we were being severely battered by the storm, they began to jettison the cargo the next day. 19 On the third day, they threw the ship’s tackle overboard with their own hands. 20 For many days neither sun nor stars appeared, and the severe storm kept raging. Finally all hope was fading that we would be saved.
21 Since they had been without food for a long time, Paul then stood up among them and said, “You men should have followed my advice not to sail from Crete and sustain this damage and loss. 22 Now I urge you to take courage, because there will be no loss of any of your lives, but only of the ship. 23 For last night an angel of the God I belong to and serve stood by me 24 and said, ‘Don’t be afraid, Paul. It is necessary for you to appear before Caesar. And indeed, God has graciously given you all those who are sailing with you.’ 25 So take courage, men, because I believe God that it will be just the way it was told to me.
In our next posts, we’ll look at two traits of a humble hero and the results of faith.
Rob is Teaching Pastor at Blackman Baptist Church.