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Peer Pressure Adds to the Present Peril

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In Hillsdale, New Jersey, the superintendent of the Department of Public Works resigned, but with the understanding that he would be rehired for the job of garbage truck driver. He preferred the job with less pressure, he said. (Sunday School Times). … More

Pressure

After 14 days of drifting on the Mediterranean Sea the sailors realized that they were getting near land (v. 27). In the middle of the fourteenth night of the storm, the crewmen tested the waters and discovered that they were approaching land (v. 28). So in the darkness of the night they dropped their anchors and waited for daylight, hoping that they might make it to the shore safely (vv. 29-30).

Under this tremendous pressure some were about to jump overboard, and Paul warned them that they would not live unless they remained with the ship (vv. 31-32). These sailors decided to try to save their own lives at all costs. Paul, faced with the defection of the ship’s officers and crew, saw at once the obvious fact that without a crew the ship would never make it to shore. So he appealed to the centurion to not let them leave the scene. When Paul spoke the crew went back to their duties. What a picture of a man without God, without Christ, and without hope, at the mercy of forces in life that he cannot control, and wholly in the dark regarding his true position. At this point Paul encouraged them to eat something, since they had not eaten anything for the entire two-week ordeal (vv. 33-36).

There were 276 people on the ship, and after everyone had eaten, they threw the cargo of wheat into the sea to make the ship lighter (vv. 37-38). When morning came, and the ship’s crew saw a coast and decided to try to run the ship aground on the beach (v. 39). They cut the anchors loose and let them sink into the sea (v. 40). Next, they raised the sail at the front of the ship and let the wind carry the ship toward the beach. Soon the ship ran aground and began to break into pieces (v. 41). The soldiers wanted to kill the prisoners so that they could not escape, but the centurion would not permit it. Instead it became every man for himself as they swam or rode planks to shore (v. 42). Thus just as Paul had predicted, all were saved, but the ship and its cargo were lost. It was truly the hand of God that had been controlling over every gale of wind and every wave (vv. 43-44).

Application

If I had been on board the ship with Paul, how do I think I would have felt at this point? Have I ever been tempted to bail out of a pressure situation? How can the principles of this account help me in situations I may face in my life?

Acts 27:27-44 (English Standard Version)

When the fourteenth night had come, as we were being driven across the Adriatic Sea, about midnight the sailors suspected that they were nearing land. So they took a sounding and found twenty fathoms. A little farther on they took a sounding again and found fifteen fathoms. And fearing that we might run on the rocks, they let down four anchors from the stern and prayed for day to come. And as the sailors were seeking to escape from the ship, and had lowered the ship's boat into the sea under pretense of laying out anchors from the bow, Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, "Unless these men stay in the ship, you cannot be saved." Then the soldiers cut away the ropes of the ship's boat and let it go. As day was about to dawn, Paul urged them all to take some food, saying, "Today is the fourteenth day that you have continued in suspense and without food, having taken nothing. Therefore I urge you to take some food. For it will give you strength, for not a hair is to perish from the head of any of you." And when he had said these things, he took bread, and giving thanks to God in the presence of all he broke it and began to eat. Then they all were encouraged and ate some food themselves. (We were in all 276 persons in the ship.) And when they had eaten enough, they lightened the ship, throwing out the wheat into the sea. Now when it was day, they did not recognize the land, but they noticed a bay with a beach, on which they planned if possible to run the ship ashore. So they cast off the anchors and left them in the sea, at the same time loosening the ropes that tied the rudders. Then hoisting the foresail to the wind they made for the beach. But striking a reef, they ran the vessel aground. The bow stuck and remained immovable, and the stern was being broken up by the surf. The soldiers' plan was to kill the prisoners, lest any should swim away and escape. But the centurion, wishing to save Paul, kept them from carrying out their plan. He ordered those who could swim to jump overboard first and make for the land, and the rest on planks or on pieces of the ship. And so it was that all were brought safely to land.

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