Sunday 16 May 2010

Bible Book:

"But when her owners saw that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the market-place before the authorities. When they had brought them before the magistrates, they said, 'These men are disturbing our city, they are Jews and are advocating customs that are not lawful for us as Romans to adopt or observe.'" (v.19-21)

Acts 16:16-34 Sunday 16 May 2010


This story takes place when Paul and Silas are travelling on oneof their missionary journeys to the city of Philippi, the chiefcity of Macedonia, to the north of Greece. They come upon a younggirl who has some sort of ability to see into the future. Paulcalls it a "spirit of divination". This was quite a commonphenomenon in the ancient world and people used to travel longdistances to ask such people for advice about their lives. But thisyoung girl was controlled by 'minders' who made money out ofher.

When the girl saw Paul she recognised him and called out, "Thesemen are slaves of the Most High God". This probably meant that shesaw Paul and Silas as special - not that she was referring to thegod of the Jews - but probably to Zeus or one of the Greek pantheonof gods. When the girl kept calling after Paul, day after day, hegot fed up and cast the spirit out of her. In doing that he robbedthe minders of their source of income with the result that they gotPaul and Silas thrown into prison.

Paul and Silas had unwittingly walked into an area where all sortsof forces were at work and when they tried to stand against thoseforces they found themselves meeting tough opposition. Indeed, butfor the earthquake that happened that night (Acts16:25-40), that might have been the end of Paul and Silas'ministry.

To Ponder

When, in your experience, has the proclamation ofthe gospel (the good news of Jesus) come up against 'vestedinterests' in your community? What happened?

What are your feelings about how the Church orfaith communities acting together should tackle social and economicevils in the area where they are set?

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