Paul Heads Out on a Second Missionary Journey
NOVEMBER 1 - Nº 305 Acts 15:36 – 16:15
Not long after he sent his letter to the Galatians (see #303 - October 30 and #304 - October 31), Paul decided that it would be wise to personally visit the churches that had been established on the first missionary journey. Barnabas agreed and suggested that they take John Mark along again. Paul was not happy with this suggestion. He did not like the fact that John Mark had deserted them in the middle of their first trip (see #300 - October 27). This difference of opinion caused so much friction that the two men decided to take separate trips. Barnabas and John Mark set sail for Cyprus, while Paul invited Silas, an elder from the Jerusalem church, to join him. Paul and Silas traveled on foot through Syria and Cilicia. They taught in all the churches Paul had previously established in those provinces, then continued their journey into Galatia. When Paul and Silas reached Lystra, they met a young man named Timothy. His mother was a Jewish believer, and his father was Greek. He was very well-liked and respected by the believers, so Paul and Silas asked him to join them on their journey.The three men traveled together teaching and encouraging the new believers in Galatia. Paul decided to keep going west. He wanted to take the Gospel to the province of Asia (part of modern-day Turkey—which is quite different from Asia today). But the Holy Spirit kept closing doors. Although they traveled across the northern part of the province, God did not allow them to start a single church. The three men finally arrived in the port city of Troas on the Aegean Sea. At some point, a doctor named Luke joined them. (This is the same Luke who wrote the Gospel account.) He became Paul’s personal physician and wrote much of Paul’s travelogue as they continued ministering together. One night Paul had a vision. A man was begging him to come and preach the gospel in Macedonia. Paul realized that the vision was from God, so the four men boarded a ship and sailed north of Greece to Macedonia. Obviously, God’s plan was for Paul to take the Gospel to Europe instead of Asia. When they arrived in Macedonia, Paul and his companions traveled inland to Philippi, a large Roman colony and one of Macedonia’s major cities. Since there was no synagogue in Philippi, the four men walked outside of the city on the Sabbath to a nearby river. They knew that when Jewish people didn’t have a formal meeting place, they often gathered on the banks of a river to pray and worship. On the riverbank they met a wealthy, Roman businesswoman named Lydia. She had come to Philippi to make and sell purple cloth—an expensive luxury item. She already knew and worshiped the God of the Old Testament, and God had prepared her heart to respond to the message Paul shared about Jesus. When Lydia heard the Gospel, she believed immediately along with the other members of her household. They were all baptized. The wealthy businesswoman persuaded Paul and his fellow missionaries to stay in her home, and it became their base of operations while they were in Philippi.
As Paul discovered, God’s plans are often very different from the ones we make for ourselves. They include different people, different places, and different experiences. Are you willing to let God plan your agenda? He will take you to places you never imagined and fill your life with experiences you never dreamed possible!