Last time, we looked at Paul’s utter confidence in the Word of God as a trait of a humble hero.
The second trait of a humble hero that we see in Acts 27 is that of boldness by God’s Spirit.
Belief in God’s Word is often followed by boldness by God’s Spirit. Look at how this boldness manifests itself in the text.
In vv. 22 and 25, Paul says, “TAKE COURAGE.” I’m equating these words … COURAGE and BOLDNESS … and what did this look like for them?
The answer is found in v. 27 — “When the 14th night came …”
COURAGE … BOLDNESS … for the lives of these men meant ENDURING MORE OF THE SAME SUFFERING that led them to despair in the first place.
But something is different in them … different in their behavior … different in their perspective.
Now that a promise had been made and believed, these men had courage and boldness through their circumstances, and that courage and boldness gave them a profound sense of composure as they faced the blessings and challenges associated with finding land.
Look at the circumstances they got into and see if you can’t hear the change in tone in Luke as well as discern a difference in the people’s actions.
27 When the fourteenth night came, we were drifting in the Adriatic Sea, and about midnight the sailors thought they were approaching land. 28 They took soundings and found it to be a hundred twenty feet deep; when they had sailed a little farther and sounded again, they found it to be ninety feet deep. 29 Then, fearing we might run aground on the rocks, they dropped four anchors from the stern and prayed for daylight to come. 30 Some sailors tried to escape from the ship; they had let down the skiff into the sea, pretending that they were going to put out anchors from the bow. 31 Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, “Unless these men stay in the ship, you cannot be saved.” 32 Then the soldiers cut the ropes holding the skiff and let it drop away.
33 When it was about daylight, Paul urged them all to take food, saying, “Today is the fourteenth day that you have been waiting and going without food, having eaten nothing. 34 So I urge you to take some food. For this is for your survival, since none of you will lose a hair from your head.” 35 After he said these things and had taken some bread, he gave thanks to God in the presence of all of them, and after he broke it, he began to eat. 36 They all were encouraged and took food themselves. 37 In all there were 276 of us on the ship. 38 When they had eaten enough, they began to lighten the ship by throwing the grain overboard into the sea.
39 When daylight came, they did not recognize the land but sighted a bay with a beach. They planned to run the ship ashore if they could. 40 After cutting loose the anchors, they left them in the sea, at the same time loosening the ropes that held the rudders. Then they hoisted the foresail to the wind and headed for the beach. 41 But they struck a sandbar and ran the ship aground. The bow jammed fast and remained immovable, while the stern began to break up by the pounding of the waves.
42 The soldiers’ plan was to kill the prisoners so that no one could swim away and escape. 43 But the centurion kept them from carrying out their plan because he wanted to save Paul, and so he ordered those who could swim to jump overboard first and get to land. 44 The rest were to follow, some on planks and some on debris from the ship. In this way, everyone safely reached the shore.
You see, there’s no language such as “All hope was lost” … instead, there is calm, cool, collected composure and action.
Belief in what God had said … led to courage and boldness in the face of difficulty, and that boldness manifested itself in the form of POISE, not PANIC.
Church family, this text causes me to wonder if our belief leads us to boldness.
This text causes me to wonder if I sometimes confuse courage and boldness to mean something wild and risky, rather than something that requires me to be composed and poised and do the best thing that I can with what’s right in front of me.
Belief in God’s Word requires boldness and courage to act, and sometimes that boldness and courage to act involves a great deal of perceived risk and stepping out of our comfort zone, but sometimes that boldness and courage results in poise and composure in the midst of great stress because we take God at His Word.
Rob is Teaching Pastor at Blackman Baptist Church.