We left the last chapter with an uproar going on. After things quieted down, Paul called for the disciples, encouraged them, and said goodbye. He headed for Macedonia, Greece, and was heading for Syria, but found out about some Jews who were plotting against him, so he went back through Macedonia. He was accompanied by Sopater, Aristarchus, Secundus, Gaius, Timothy, Tychicus, and Trophimus. These men went on to Traos and waited for Paul there. Paul joined the others there after the Festival of Unleavened Bread.
In Traos, he preached. Now, we often complain about a sermon going more than the allotted time, but Paul had something to say, and the Holy Spirit had some work to do. Because he was leaving the next day, Paul kept preaching, and preached until midnight. There was a young man named Eutycus, sitting in the window. Eutycus fell into a deep sleep, fell from the third story, and was picked up dead. Verse 10 says, “Paul went down, threw himself on a young man and put his arms around him. “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “He’s alive!” He went back upstairs, broke bread and ate and talked until daylight. Paul left and “the people took the young man home alive and were greatly comforted.” Do you long to see the power of the Holy Spirit work like this, today? I pray we can have a desire to stay and listen to a Godly man until the Spirit tells him to stop preaching and talking. I pray we can have enough faith to see the dead brought back to life. One more thing I noticed is “they were greatly comforted.” Do you ever notice how uncomfortable people become when you start talking about what God has done in your life, or in the life of loved ones?? I pray the work of God can be shared and hearts changed to feel the comfort and peace that passes all understanding.
Paul wanted to get to Jerusalem before Pentecost so he sailed past Ephesus, but sent for the Ephesian Elders to come and meet him. Paul reminded them of how he had lived his life. Verses 19-21 say,
“I served the Lord with great humility and with tears and in the midst of severe testing by the plots of my Jewish opponents. You know that I have not hesitated to preach anything that would be helpful to you but have taught you publicly and from house to house. I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus.”
I pray we serve the Lord with great humility, even in the midst of tears and severe testing by our opponents. I pray we never hesitate to share God’s Word in a helpful way, publicly and privately. I pray everyone will recognize salvation does not come without repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Paul tells them the Spirit is compelling him to go back to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to him. Paul next says something that makes me stop and evaluate his reaction, and what mine would be. He says that the Holy Spirit warns him of prison and the hardships facing him in every city. However, he considers his own life worth nothing. His only aim is to finish the task the Lord Jesus has set before him, that of testifying to the good news of God’s grace. We recognize Christians in America are more and more persecuted, but if you were shown, beyond doubt, you would be put in prison and face hardships everywhere you went, would you be so quick to share Christ with others? Would you consider your own life as nothing? Would you still be willing to finish the task the Lord has set before you to testify the good news of God’s grace? Would you even be able to see it as “good news” at this point? I pray we can become more and more like Paul, to consider our lives worth nothing in light of sharing God’s gift of grace. I pray we can continue on with boldness and courage, and be able to accept whatever trials may come our way.
Paul shares they will never see him again. He also lets them know he has proclaimed to them, without hesitation, the will of God, and he is not responsible for their unbelief. He warned them to keep watch over themselves and the flock, of which they have been made overseers. He warned them to be shepherds of the church of God, because savage wolves will come and destroy the flock. He warned that even some of their own would arise and distort the truth to draw away disciples. Paul had been warning these people, in tears, of this destruction. I think Paul was brought to emotion about the destruction by wolves, because he knew, first-hand, the destruction, torture, and agony these wolves could bring, for he had been one of those wolves. I pray we can be on guard, and those in church leadership will be on guard. I pray, again, for discernment to know when the wolves are among us.
Paul encouraged them the Word of God’s grace could build them up and give them an inheritance among the sanctified. Paul reminded them through hard work, they must help the weak as Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” He then knelt with the men and prayed over them. They wept as they said goodbye for the last time. I pray we will allow God’s grace to continue to build us up. I thank God for the inheritance of the sanctified. I pray we will work and choose to help those who are weak and in need. What a marvelous legacy Paul shared with these people, the legacy of Christ, a life beyond this. Because of that, he held such a special place in the hearts of these people. I pray I can share God’s gift of grace with others and they can see His work in me.