The Voyage from Troas
13Paul decided to travel by land to Assos. The rest of us went on ahead by ship, and we were to take him aboard there. 14When he met us in Assos, he came aboard, and we sailed on to Mitylene. 15The next day we came to a place near Chios, and the following day we reached Samos. The day after that we sailed to Miletus. 16Paul had decided to sail on past Ephesus, because he did not want to spend too much time in Asia. He was in a hurry and wanted to be in Jerusalem in time for Pentecost.
Paul Says Goodbye
17From Miletus, Paul sent a message for the church leaders at Ephesus to come and meet with him. 18When they got there, he said:
You know everything I did during the time I was with you when I first came to Asia. 19Some of the Jews plotted against me and caused me a lot of sorrow and trouble. But I served the Lord and was humble. 20When I preached in public or taught in your homes, I didn't hold back from telling anything that would help you. 21I told Jews and Gentiles to turn to God and have faith in our Lord Jesus.
22I don't know what will happen to me in Jerusalem, but I must obey God's Spirit and go there. 23In every city I visit, I am told by the Holy Spirit that I will be put in jail and will be in trouble in Jerusalem. 24 But I don't care what happens to me, as long as I finish the work the Lord Jesus gave me to do. And this work is to tell the good news about God's gift of undeserved grace.
Paul leaves Greece and proceeds on his way to Jerusalem before the Feast of Pentecost. We learn from the book of Romans that Paul has an offering for the Jewish Christians in Jerusalem. This financial aid had been collected from the Gentile churches in Macedonia and Achaia. The Jewish believers would customarily meet in Jerusalem at this special time of the year and this offering proved to be a great blessing to the believing community.
Paul’s voyage was progressing well under the promptings of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit, in addition, informed Paul through prophets that tribulation and even imprisonment would be his lot once in Jerusalem.
I’m wondering how our motivation to persevere in doing God’s will would be affected if we were to receive, as Paul did, this stark news of imminent persecution!?
Paul gave himself without reserve to serving Jesus Christ and the Church. He faithfully announced to the believers absolutely all that they needed to know in order to develop spiritually. He preached an uncompromising and complete gospel that included the message of repentance from sin and of faith in the finished work of Christ on Calvary’s cross. Many contemporary preachers of the Gospel love to speak of heaven and the love of God but, unfortunately, not so much about hell and God’s justice. They opt for preaching about “pleasant things.” Do our words, like those of Paul, direct people to the full and glorious truth of the gospel?
Paul is determined to finish the work that the Lord has given him and to stay the course doggedly to the very end (2 Timothy 4:7).
What an example of humility, obedience, patience and perseverance! Do I personally experience, in my Christian walk, this degree of determination to finish my course well, to remain faithful to the Lord and to faithfully accomplish the work that he has given to me?
Lord, I want to serve you faithfully, but I recognize that I am sometimes tempted to be discouraged. Give me the strength to persevere and to follow your call to the very end! In Jesus’ name, Amen.