May 22, 2017

Paul and Julius

May 22, 2017
Paul and Julius

Daily Reading
Acts 27:39-44
Psalm 93
This week’s sermon text: James 4:13-17

Field Notes
The text today is such a short vignette that one might ask, “Why is this here?”  Although Paul in the face of a storm does remind me of Jesus – steady, assured, and faith-filled – this brief bit of action is focused on the Centurion’s handling of the situation.

The shipwreck in Acts 27 occurs during Paul’s journey to Rome as a prisoner of the Centurion, Julius. Although Paul advised against sailing from Crete, his advice was not taken. Paul then prophesied that no one would be lost on the voyage, a bold statement since violent storms often occur in the Mediterranean in late fall and winter. Such a storm drove Paul’s ship aground.

The soldiers in the shipwreck want to kill their prisoners for fear they will be held responsible should any escape, an act punishable by death. But Julius orders the soldiers not to harm the prisoners and to head for shore in whatever manner they could. He provides solid leadership as he assumes full responsibly for the safety and security of the prisoners assigned to him. Julius balances the needs of both soldiers and prisoners. His approach is both humane and just. I have to wonder what influence Paul had on Julius during the many hours of conversation and storytelling they must have shared aboard ship.

Questions for the Field

  • When and to whom have you told your story of faith?
  • What changed in your relationship with the person who heard your story?
  • When has someone else’s story changed your point of view or shaped your behavior?

Family Field Talk

  • Imagine that you overhear Paul and Julius talking aboard ship. How does Paul tell his story? Include the Damascus Road experience. What is Julius’ response?

Prayer Guide
Holy God, no matter what our circumstances, help us to be prepared to share the story of your Presence in our lives. Amen