On Sunday we finished our mini series journeying through Acts 27 by looking at Paul’s ‘Gospel Actions’ (Acts27:33-38).
At the point where all hope is lost Paul urges his fellow travellers to eat some food. The people on the ship hadn’t eaten for 14 days and Paul says ‘Take some food, you need it to survive.’ He then takes some bread, gives thanks to God in front of everyone, breaks it and eats. This simple action inspires hope for all around. Having seen Paul’s actions they are all encouraged and everyone eats until they had had enough.
Paul did something which was hope in action. Breaking bread encouraged those around him that there was to be a future. They ate, not just to satisfy their hunger that came from the past, but to sustain them in the days that were ahead – ‘you need it to survive.’
The way Luke describes Paul’s action also reminds us of Jesus’ communion meal. Whilst this action may not specifically be a communion meal (although it could be!) it certainly alludes to it and in some ways points to the ultimate salvation hope of Jesus Christ.
The outcome of Paul’s action is that everyone around him follows what he does and, for that moment at least, share his faith. His action is something that brings encouragement and inspires everyone to do the same. Bread and hope are shared with all.
It reminds me of 1Cor11:1 where Paul says ‘Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.’, except here it is more like ‘imitate Christ and those who see it is good will imitate you.’ People around us may not realise it at first but as this happens, and they imitate us, they will begin to follow Christ. In this way faith is shared, meaning the faith we have and live in starts to be assimilated by those around us so that they share our faith just as the people in the boat shared Paul’s faith.
And so we continue to journey together, through the storms, sharing faith in Christ that we know will see us all safely to shore.
Consider some of the issues of hopelessness in the world around us (you may have specific situations and people you know as well as the more general problems in society). In what way can you live out Gospel Actions (actions that speak of hope and encouragement) that others may be able to share and imitate?