We are at another traveling passage. After the commotion in the theatre it’s time for Paul to move on.
During the uproar, two of the disciples had been captured by the crowd. Luke tells us that “Paul sent for the disciples” after everything died down. Were the two who were captured the ones he sent for or was his call to all the disciples in Ephesus? He was already with several of them as they were the ones who prevented him from going to the captured friend’s rescue.
I wonder if Demetrius was happy to see Paul leave. Did he expect business and life to return to “normal” with Paul’s absence? Maybe he thought he had accomplished something positive after all with the riot. From our vantage point in history we know he was sadly disappointed if he did.
Paul and a band of disciples made the trip from Ephesus to Greece, through Macedonia. Other than offering encouragement we don’t know what stories that trip generated. We do learn that Paul and his group stayed long enough in Greece to be a problem for the Jews.
I don’t know if this was “record time” or not but three months was enough time for the Jews to decide Paul had to go. We are not told explicitly here but we know from Paul’s past history that he went into the synagogues to debate “the Way” with the Jews. I wonder how long it was before he left the synagogues and went to the Gentiles. I’m certain he didn’t only address the Jews and the proselytes. Paul was God’s instrument for reaching the Gentiles and everywhere he went he eventually wound up there.
So was Paul’s decision to leave Greece a result of the plot to kill him or was he already planning on going? Did he alter his plans in response to the plot? The Holy Spirit has been faithful in warning Paul and his companions about the plots hatching around Paul just in time.
Paul had quite a few people leave with him this time. I’m really not certain which ones sailed ahead and which ones accompanied him as he went back through Macedonia and finally to Philippi. We know Luke went with him to Philippi because of the pronouns used in the last part of the passage.
This boat trip took five days. I wonder if anything special happened along the way. We don’t get any information about the trip, so maybe not. We quickly learn that the group is staying in Troas, where they met up with the forward group, for seven days. Something special happens during those seven days but we will get to that tomorrow.
We have already discussed that I find these “who went where” passages difficult to dig into for more meaning. The one thing I see in today’s passage is God’s faithfulness wherever they go. In trouble or in turmoil, God watches over Paul and his helpers as they carry His word from one place to another. He doesn’t give them “golden sidewalks” for their trip but He doesn’t leave them on their own either. He faithfully walks the roads with them, providing the protection they need each step of the way.
Father God, thank You that You are ALWAYS faithful. I don’t walk on carpeted streets either but my struggles are tiny compared to Paul’s. But the BEST part of it all is that You are as faithful to me as You were to Paul. I trust You with my life just like he did with his. THANK YOU that mine is MUCH easier than his! Thank You too for Your examples of Your faithfulness throughout Your word. Those examples are the beginning of my faith in You. They are part of my foundational building blocks. Thank You for providing them for me. Thank You for Jesus. HIS story is what makes all the other stories work together.
Without Jesus and His love the stories in my bible would be just that, a bunch of stories. But through You Lord Jesus, I see and know the Father’s love. I know Your Love Jesus. You walked beside Paul on those dusty roads through the Holy Spirit just as surely as You walked beside Peter and John during Your life on earth. I DO walk with You; not on the dusty roads of Israel but on the bumpy and winding roads of my life. Thank You for being my constant companion.
It never ceases to amaze me how You take the most mundane passages and turn them into personal encouragement for me in our journey. Thank You!