Courage and Commitment
Series: Pauline Letters
Acts 20:13-16 ESV
Acts 20:17-38 ESV
Luke is believed to be the author of the Acts of the apostles. His writing gave us an idea of Paul’s determination to share the message of Jesus in many regions and places.
Acts 20:13-16 tells us, “But going ahead to the ship, we set sail for Assos, intending to take Paul aboard there, for so he had arranged, intending himself to go by land. And when he met us at Assos, we took him on board and went to Mitylene. And sailing from there we came the following day opposite Chios; the next day we touched at Samos; and the day after that we went to Miletus. For Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus, so that he might not have to spend time in Asia, for he was hastening to be at Jerusalem, if possible, on the day of Pentecost.”
Paul had a special message for the Ephesian Elders. In Acts 20:17-38 we learn, “Now from Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called the elders of the church to come to him. And when they came to him, he said to them:“You yourselves know how I lived among you the whole time from the first day that I set foot in Asia, serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and with trials that happened to me through the plots of the Jews; how I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you in public and from house to house, testifying both to Jews and to Greeks of repentance toward God and of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. And now, behold, I am going to Jerusalem, constrained by the Spirit, not knowing what will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit testifies to me in every city that imprisonment and afflictions await me. But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. And now, behold, I know that none of you among whom I have gone about proclaiming the kingdom will see my face again. Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all, for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God. Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish every one with tears. And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified. I coveted no one's silver or gold or apparel. You yourselves know that these hands ministered to my necessities and to those who were with me. In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ And when he had said these things, he knelt down and prayed with them all. And there was much weeping on the part of all; they embraced Paul and kissed him, being sorrowful most of all because of the word he had spoken, that they would not see his face again. And they accompanied him to the ship.”
As Acts concludes we learn that the Holy Spirit told Paul he would suffer.
Paul knew he would not ever see his new friends and believers again on earth.
Paul knew life in the early church would not be easy and he warned them “wolves” would come.
Paul warned them to be alert and vigilant.
Paul reminded them he did not seek golf or silver but instead he ministered to the weak.
Paul knew he would be blessed from giving himself to them. We notice Paul’s words in Acts 20:24, “But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.” He was not thinking of himself.
He prayed a final prayer with his friends before he departed.
Everyone there was weeping because Paul told them they would never see him again on this earth.
They all went with him to the harbor and watched him sail away.
I cannot begin to imagine how difficult it must have been for the people who were left behind to see Paul sail out of sight.
We also know Paul was suffering knowing he would not see them again. Paul knew life was about to become very difficult for him.
Even then, he set sail and accepted God’s plan for him.
I don’t know about you, but Paul’s courage and commitment bless me and encourage me on my journey.
Spiritual Practice: And You?
Does Paul’s courage and commitment encourage you?
In God, Deborah