321 - Paul Continues the Journey to Jerusalem
NOVEMBER 17 - Nº 321 Acts 20
After three months in Corinth, Paul prepared to board a ship that would sail straight back to Antioch in Syria where his third missionary journey had begun. But he learned that some Jews who opposed him were plotting against him, so he changed directions and took an overland route through Macedonia. Several of his companions went with him. When they arrived in Philippi, they sailed across the Aegean Sea to Troas. Paul and his colleagues stayed in Troas for seven days while they waited for another ship that would take them on to Jerusalem. The night before they set sail, they met with a group of believers in a room on the third floor of a house. After eating, Paul began to teach. He knew that he was leaving the next day and might never be back, and he had a lot he wanted to tell them. So, he taught for hours! A young man named Eutychus was sitting on a windowsill. While Paul taught, he grew drowsy and fell asleep. He slipped out of the window and landed on the ground. Everyone rushed to see if he was okay. But by the time they got downstairs, he was dead. Paul threw himself on top of the young man and hugged him tightly. Finally, Paul looked up and said, “Don’t be alarmed. He is alive.” Everyone rejoiced that God had brought Eutychus back to life. Then they went back upstairs, and Paul resumed teaching until it was time for him to leave. Most of Paul’s companions boarded the ship the next morning, but Paul decided to walk 40 miles across the peninsula and meet them at the next port. He knew that his life would be in danger once he got to Jerusalem, so he may have wanted some time alone with God before things became chaotic. He arrived at the port in Assos in time to board the ship. Paul sent word to the elders from the church in Ephesus to meet him at another port city called Miletus. He felt very close to these men since he had lived with them and taught them for three years (see #312 - November 8 and #316 - November 12), and he wanted an opportunity to say goodbye. He realized that he would not be returning to Ephesus. “My life has been an open book,” he began when he met with Ephesian elders. “I did not hide anything from you. We suffered persecution together, but through it all I was able to explain the Gospel to everyone in the region. Now I am leaving you, and I will never see you again. But the Holy Spirit is compelling me to go to Jerusalem. I don’t know exactly what is going to happen once I arrive, but I do know that I will be put in prison and face many hardships. I may die, but that is okay. My only aim is to complete the task God has for me.” Paul instructed the elders to be careful how they lived their lives; he encouraged them to be good shepherds of the people in the church; he warned them that people from both inside and outside the church would distort the truth and try to get others to follow their teachings; he counseled them to take care of the people who were weak; he reminded them that Jesus taught that ‘it is more blessed to give than to receive.’ Then Paul knelt and prayed with these men he had mentored for years. They shed many tears realizing they would never see him again. They embraced him and kissed him goodbye. Then Paul boarded the ship and sailed toward Jerusalem.
Jesus taught that ‘it is more blessed to give than to receive.’ Would your friends and family members describe you as a “giver” or as a “taker”? God blesses people who are “givers”. This means that “givers” end up receiving far better things than what they gave up—things that God knows they really need and that only He can supply!