The Macedonian Call - Acts 16

The Macedonian Call

Acts 16:1-40

On Paul's second missionary journey he started out with Silas as his companion, and was joined by young Timothy in Lystra.  They traveled west "through Phrygia and the region of Galatia," but were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the gospel there.  So they "tried to go into Bithynia" in the north, but the Holy Spirit stopped them again.  So "they came down to Troas (ancient Troy)," and waited. 

The apostle Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia, "who stood and pleaded with him, 'Come over to Macedonia, and help us.'"  Troas was a coastal city, and across the straits from it was Macedonia (Northern Greece).  It appears that Luke, the physician and author of the book of Acts, became part of this missionary team.  Having seen the vision, Paul immediately recognized it as God's call.  Luke writes, "We sought to go to Macedonia, concluding that the Lord had called us to preach the gospel to them."

Paul and company sailed from Asia Minor to Europe, and they made their way to Philippi, "the foremost city of that part of Macedonia."  It was a Roman colony, probably without a synagogue.  Just outside of the city, there was a place of prayer by the riverside.  Paul met "a certain woman named Lydia," who was from the city of Thyatira.  Thyatira?  That's in Asia Minor, where the apostle had just been.  To our knowledge she was the first convert in Europe.

Next we find the missionaries being followed by another woman, a slave girl, who was demon-possessed.  Paul cast out the evil spirit to the chagrin of her masters.  Realizing that they were out of the fortune-telling business, they brought false charges against Paul and Silas, who were then arrested, stripped naked, beaten with rods, and imprisoned.

At midnight Europe's first sacred concert was heard as "Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God."  Everybody was listening.  Instead of applause there was a great earthquake.  The keeper of the prison was clearly shaken and he found himself before Paul and Silas, asking, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?"  They answered, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household."  Acts 16:31.  That night the jailer and his family believed and were baptized.

God is so good!  Paul never met the man of Macedonia that he had seen in the vision.  Instead, the first person mentioned in this chapter was a businesswoman of Thyatira.  Also, the Lord didn't show Paul the slave girl and her masters and the beatings and the prison.  He doesn't overwhelm us, showing us more than we need to know.  Praise the Lord!

 

Gracious God, You don't burden us with burdens or trials that are greater than we can bear.  Thank You for strength for the day.  Teach us to be occupied with You and the needs of others.  In Jesus' name.  Amen! 

 

The Unknown God - Acts 17 

 
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