Day 20, Acts 20.
One of the common themes seen in the book of Acts is Paul going to new places to share the gospel, leading people to Christ, planting churches. But just as common is Paul returning to cities where he had previously been to encourage, exhort, and strengthen believers.
In one of those towns, Troas, Paul began speaking at mealtime. Since he intended to leave the next day, he prolonged his message until midnight. One young man was sitting at a window sill and fell asleep. In so doing, he fell out the window, to the ground three stories down. He was picked up dead. What was Paul’s response?
11But Paul went down and fell upon him, and after embracing him, he said, “Do not be troubled, for his life is in him.” 11 When he had gone back up and had broken the bread and eaten, he talked with them a long while until daybreak, and then left. 12 They took away the boy alive, and were greatly comforted.
When Paul got to Miletus, he called the elders of the church at Ephesus to him. He reminded them how he had served God humbly, dealing with the plots of the Jews. He reminded them how he bravely declared what was profitable, going house to house, telling people of the need to repent toward God and faith in out Lord Jesus Christ.
But notice that Paul knew he was headed to bonds and afflictions in Jerusalem.
22 And now, behold, bound by the Spirit, I am on my way to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there, 23 except that the Holy Spirit solemnly testifies to me in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions await me.
He wanted to finish the path God had laid out for him; he wanted to accomplish the ministry the Lord Jesus had given him to testify of the gospel of the grace of God. He then warned the elders of the church to be alert for those who would come into and from within the church to attack.
28 Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. 29 I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; 30 and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them.
He realized he was on his way to death. He told them they would no longer see him. The elders were saddened, realizing what he would face and how they would miss him.
36 When he had said these things, he knelt down and prayed with them all. 37 And they began to weep aloud and embraced Paul, and repeatedly kissed him, 38 grieving especially over the word which he had spoken, that they would not see his face again. And they were accompanying him to the ship.
I pray God make us so effective. I pray God make us so diligent. I pray God make us so loved. May we each by used of God to move people to trust in Christ and live for God.