Paul Continues His Journey
Series: Pauline Letters
Acts 20:1b-6 ESV
2 Corinthians 11:26 NLT
Philippians 1:21-24 ESV
Matthew 4:18 ESV
Matthew 4:21-22 ESV
Matthew 9:9 ESV
John 21:1-3 ESV
Acts 20:7-12 ESV
Acts 20:10-12 The Message
As Paul continued on his journey, the number of people who traveled with him grew considerably. In the beginning he usually had one or two people traveling with him. We learn in
Acts 20:1b-6, “Paul sent for the disciples, and after encouraging them, he said farewell and departed for Macedonia. When he had gone through those regions and had given them much encouragement, he came to Greece. There he spent three months, and when a plot was made against him by the Jews as he was about to set sail for Syria, he decided to return through Macedonia. Sopater the Berean, son of Pyrrhus, accompanied him; and of the Thessalonians, Aristarchus and Secundus; and Gaius of Derbe, and Timothy; and the Asians, Tychicus and Trophimus. These went on ahead and were waiting for us at Troas, but we sailed away from Philippi after the days of Unleavened Bread, and in five days we came to them at Troas, where we stayed for seven days.”
Another item to note is that it seemed to be mentioned frequently that Paul was in danger. Paul admits in 2 Corinthians 11:26, “I have traveled on many long journeys. I have faced danger from rivers and from robbers. I have faced danger from my own people, the Jews, as well as from the Gentiles. I have faced danger in the cities, in the deserts, and on the seas. And I have faced danger from men who claim to be believers but are not.”
We also know Paul was not afraid of death. In Philippians 1:21-24 he wrote, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account.”
Paul knew being in his forever home in heaven with Jesus would be wonderful, marvelous, and amazing. He also knew God had called him to preach the good news of Jesus to the Jews and the Gentiles. Because Paul was highly educated and understood the Old Testament extremely well, he had skills that were unique.
In Seminary we learned that at the time Hebrew boys in school were required to memorize the Hebrew Scriptures. Because Paul had been chosen to study with the premier Hebrew Theologian Gamaliel we know that Paul had mastered every requirement.
The other disciples had unique gifts, but none of them had accomplished what Paul accomplished as a scholar.
When a Hebrew boy was unable or unwilling to continue studying and memorizing The Hebrew Scriptures, they went home and learned a trade (often the trade of their fathers).
We know from Matthew 4:18, “While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen.”
Then in Matthew 4:21-22 we are told, “And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and he called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.”
Matthew 9:9 tells us what Matthew did for a living, “As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him.”
John 21:1-3 leads us to believe that it’s possible that Thomas, Nathanael, James and John ( the sons of Zebedee) were also fishermen., “After this Jesus revealed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias, and he revealed himself in this way. Simon Peter, Thomas (called the Twin), Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples were together. Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will go with you.” They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.”
We do not know the occupations of Phillip, James the son of Alphaeus, Thaddeus, or Simon the Zealot. Zealots were skilled warriors who belonged to an aggressive political party, so more than likely Simon was a trained warrior.
Nothing is mentioned in scripture about the other disciples being scholars. Only Paul was a scholar trained extensively in Hebrew Old Testament scriptures.
While the others disciples were called to go to specific places to preach the Gospel message we do not have written records from them. Peter wrote two letters (1 and 2 Peter). John wrote the Gospel of John, 1, 2, and 3 John and Revelation. James, half brother of Jesus wrote the book of James. Scholars believe Jude was written by a half brother of Jesus.
In Acts 20:7-12 we learn about the extent of Paul’s commitment, “On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul talked with them, intending to depart on the next day, and he prolonged his speech until midnight. There were many lamps in the upper room where we were gathered. And a young man named Eutychus, sitting at the window, sank into a deep sleep as Paul talked still longer. And being overcome by sleep, he fell down from the third story and was taken up dead. But Paul went down and bent over him, and taking him in his arms, said, “Do not be alarmed, for his life is in him.” And when Paul had gone up and had broken bread and eaten, he conversed with them a long while, until daybreak, and so departed. And they took the youth away alive, and were not a little comforted.”
In The Message version of Acts 10-12 it says, “Paul went down, stretched himself on him, and hugged him hard. “No more crying,” he said. “There’s life in him yet.” Then Paul got up and served the Master’s Supper. And went on telling stories of the faith until dawn! On that note, they left—Paul going one way, the congregation another, leading the boy off alive, and full of life themselves.”
This story gives us some idea of Paul’s commitment to Jesus and the early church. From dawn to dust Paul gave every ounce of energy he had to the new converts. He did not waiver.
Spiritual Practice: Commit
Have you committed your life to Jesus?
In God, Deborah