After [Paul] said this, he took some bread and gave thanks to God in front of them all. Then he broke it and began to eat. - Acts 27:35 (NIV)
What first struck me about this is the language. Notice the phrases: "took bread"; "gave thanks"; "broke it". To me this sounds an awful lot like what is referred to as the Eucharist or Communion.
What I find interesting about this verse is the setting. As I pointed out, Paul is with a small group of believers, under the watchful eye of Roman soldiers while on a boat full of mostly, if not all, non-believers. It seems that in this setting Paul celebrates the Lord's Supper with the food they have in the midst of a dire situation.
In his commentry on Acts, F.F. Bruce writes:
Probably it was [the Lord's Supper] in a limited sense: all shared the food, but to the majority it was an ordinary meal, while for those who ate with eucharistic intention (Paul and his fellow-Christians) it was a valid eucharist: "the bread which we break, is it not our participation in the body of Christ?" (1 Cor. 10:16). They did not, however, withdraw into a cornerto communicate: Paul gave thanks "in the presence of all," and the communicant Christians broke the bread and ate with the ship's company. (pg. 492-93)And I love the next verse as well:
They were all encouraged and ate some food themselves. - Acts 27:36
The rest of the people on the vessel were encouraged! They were mostly non-believers and they were encouraged. One thing that comes to my mind is that when we usually think of the Lord's Supper often participation in it is reserved for believers. Did Paul participate in the Lord's Supper here, and with non-believers to boot? If so, what are the implications of this, if any, for our view(s) on the Lord's Supper?
What are your thoughts?