Saturday 27 May 2017

Bible Book:

“During the night Paul had a vision: there stood a man of Macedonia pleading with him saying, ‘Come over to Macedonia and help us.’” (v. 9)

Acts 16:1-15 Saturday 27 May 2017

Psalm: Psalm 13


This passage in Acts is very interesting, both in its own rightand for the light it sheds on the early mission strategy of Pauland his colleagues. First of all, there is Timothy, a young man whojoins Paul and Silas. Timothy was the child of a mixed marriage - aJewish mother and a Greek father. Clearly, this was no problem forPaul, but interestingly he urged circumcision on Timothy (verse 3)so that he would be readily acceptable to Jews as well as Gentiles.This was succession planning - Paul was probably looking to Timothyto take over his work.

Then the doors seemed shut to Paul to go further in Asia - heexplains it by saying that he was "forbidden by the Holy Spirit"(v. 6). It is difficult to know what was actually happening. Somecommentators believe that Paul's ill-health was the constrainingfactor and that Paul saw his own weakness as a message from God.Then after seeing a vision of a person calling him over toMacedonia, Paul moved immediately from east to west and respondedto the call.

In Macedonia Paul and his companions travelled to Philippi, aRoman colony settled by military veterans. There was no synagoguethere, just a meeting place for Jews down by the river. From thatsmall group, Paul reached out to a wide cross-section of thepopulation including Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth - a veryexpensive commodity, indicating that she was probably a verywealthy woman. She offered Paul and his companions,hospitality.

To Ponder

  • Paul clearly has a plan to train up the next generation ofmissionaries to carry his work on after him. How pro-active are wein trying to ensure succession planning? If it is not easy to find'the next generation' - what strategies might we use?
  • "Come over to Macedonia!" was the call that Paul heeded. Manysubsequent missionaries have had that same experience of beingcalled to come to a group of people or a particular place. Arethere Macedonian calls within our own country that we are notheeding? And what might they be?
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